As a Cavs fan, I will always have one distinct memory of Rasheed Wallace that I donâ€™t intend on forgetting anytime soon. In 2006, at a Sunday practice following a Game 3 loss to the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Rasheed made one of his famous â€œGuaransheedsâ€ saying, â€œWe’re going to bust their [butt]. Tomorrow night is the last game here in this building for this year.â€ Final score in Game 4? Cavs 74 Pistons 72. It was the first timeÂ he did not fulfill his prediction.Â Wallace would get the last laugh though after the Cavs, while holding a 3-2 series lead, proceeded to lose Games 6 and 7. Detroit was headed for their fourth consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearance, and the Cavs experienced their first playoff series loss in the LeBron Era.
Fast forward to June 2, 2007. The Cavs were coming off LeBronâ€™s incredible Game 5 performance, forever dubbed the 48 Special, and looking for their first NBA Finals appearance in franchise history. Midway through the 4th quarter, with the Cavs holding a 12 point lead, it happened. First, Rasheed committed an offensive foul by backing down Anderson Varejao. As he headed back down the court, he began yelling at the refs. Everyone in the arena knew it was only a matter of time before Rasheed completely melted down. The frustration of the game and series had grown on him. Â Sure enough, on the ensuing Cavs possession, LeBron drove the lane, dished the ball to Varejao underneath, and Rasheed promptly tackled LeBron to the ground. Fifth foul? Check. First technical foul? Check. Would he go for the second technical foul? You bet. Rasheed Wallace had been ejected. Even if the Pistons had pulled off a stunning comeback, the fact that it was Wallaceâ€™s seventh technical of the playoffs meant he would not be playing in Game 7 either. It was at this exact moment that I knew the Cavs would represent that Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. It was a moment that I would never forget.
Looking back on his career, Rasheedâ€™s temper was a pleasure to watch; he was like Lou Pinella in that respect. For the same reasons that people tune in night after night hoping to see something theyâ€™ve never seen before (an impossible buzzer beater, a historic shooting night, the Wizards winning a game, etc.), every time you bought a ticket to a game, you knew that there was the potential for Rasheed to completely lose his mind. Sometimes it was entertaining. Other times it was terrifying. At the end of the day though, as long as you werenâ€™t a fan of the team Rasheed was on, it was a spectacle to behold. At its core, sports is entertainment, and few people had the potential to entertain a crowd as much as Rasheed. Whether it getting insanely hot and dropping 42 points against the Nuggets on a cold February night in 2001, doing whatever he did to rack up an incredible 304 technical fouls in his career, or lazily coasting through the 2009-2010 season with the Celtics, Wallace drove fans of all teams practically insane. I have no idea if he will actually unretire and bless another fan base with his presence in the next couple of months. Would I like to see him come back this season? Of course! Would I like to see him join the Cavs? Of course not! Weâ€™ll always have 2007 though, and that is something that I will never forget.