|Rasheed Wallace on D&H 11/12||11.12.09 at 4:53 pm ET|
Celtics F/C Rasheed Wallace appeared on D&H this afternoon to talk about his love for the Kansas City Chiefs, how Kevin Garnett and the rest of the Big 3 recruited him to Boston, and his relationship with NBA referees.
Click here to listen to the full audio and read below for some highlights.
How did a guy who grew up in Philadelphia become a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs?
Well, being the black sheep of the family, everyone in my family was an Eagles‘ fan, so I always rooted for the other teams. Everyone: my aunts, uncles, cousins, my mom, my dad, my brothers, they all cheer for the Eagles so I had to go against the grain.
Yep. You know, I’m always a fan of individual players, but around about ’93, ’94, when Joe Montana got traded to Kansas City, no one I knew was a Kansas City fan so I’ve been with them ever since.
There was a story on you in the Kansas City Star about your obsession with the Chiefs and the writer said, “Rasheed Wallace was holding a prosthetic leg,” or something like that. Why were you holding a prosthetic leg?
Well, a friend of mine is handicapped and at times when he’s had one too many beers, he gets to taking his leg off and he likes to throw it around and he tries to scare people. So, we just took his leg and put my Kansas City helmet on it and we took pictures of it.
Every now and then, we convince him to pop his leg off and try to scare people and once he did that, he’s pretty much playing keep away with it. He can’t chase it. So we got the leg and took pictures with it and everyone’s posing and stuff. It was fun though, it was all in fun.
When the Celtics made the trip out to recruit you, what was the message they brought that sold you on coming here?
Definitely by the Big 3 coming and Doc [Rivers] and the owner definitely telling me that they want me. That was a good process to me because I didn’t expect to see those three guys. It was definitely a surprise. My wife and I are both walking through the room and like, “Oh, what are you all doing here.” That kind of, sort of sent the message and I know not everyone on the team could come, but I think that those three represented the other players on the team.
If you could share anything [KG ] said that day, what was it?
The main thing he was telling me was Doc is a veterans’ coach. Of course, I played against Doc when he was on his way out. Over the years, I kind of became friends with Doc from the sideline. They were telling me, “Doc’s a veteran coach.” He doesn’t like to play his vets 40-plus minutes a night because you know that wears them down and you won’t have any legs at the end of the season to make that playoff run. And just other little things involving the team as far as the bench, guys on the team, the way they act, the way that they are and, that kind of coerced me to come over.
There was a play last night as there was a loose ball, you were going for it and one of the members of the Jazz was going for it and I’m holding my breath because I was afraid there’s going to be a big collision. At the very last minute, you tapped it off his chest as, “Thank you very much, we’ll move to the other end.” Did you know what you were going to do as you started towards that ball?
Oh yeah, definitely. I knew I couldn’t be beat him to that ball and be able to pick it up and start to break down to the other end, [Rajon] Rondo yelled my name and I just hit the ball off of him. I did the veteran thing.
You have some family in Dorchester. What [does your family] think of you being a Celtic?
Well, it’s cool. I guess it makes them better for them to cheer for me because they were cheering for me before when I was with the Pistons. Of course, coming to the game and sitting in the stands, they were getting funny looks when they cheer for me. Other than that, they pretty much like it now with Celtic green. It’s better for them and it’s better with their neighbors.
How does this team compare with the best teams you’ve been on in the past?
Really, I can’t make that comparison now because we are only about 8 or 9 games deep into the season, but this team definitely has the potential to be one of those great teams. We have young guys, they are willing to learn, they don’t give you no back flip and they don’t think they know everything. And then the veteran guys, of course, I don’t have to say too much about them. Everyone here, they want to win, they’re willing to win, they’re willing to learn how to win and no one places their ego in front of the team.
How important is it to you personally and the team as a group to be the best defensive team in the NBA?
It’s real important. One of my things is defense wins championships, offense sells tickets. I don’t think we’re having any problems with trying to sell tickets with the guys on the team, so defense is definitely going to win championships.
I saw a basketball website and the name of it is, “Ball don’t lie,” which is a Rasheed original. When they call a foul on Rasheed, and then the guy goes to the line and he misses, [Wallace] says, “Ball don’t lie.”
It doesn’t necessarily have to be me fouling. It could be someone on the team when there is an unjust call and they go to the line for two and, “Boink, boink” they miss them, so that ball don’t lie. People try to take it and run with it, but with me being from Philadelphia, we’re trend-setters, so I’m not worried about or upset that the guy got that website.
Can you name two or three officials that you really like and they like you and you have a pretty respectable relationship?
Tom Washington, believe it or not Joe Crawford. Joe’s my man. He’s like the boxing referee Mills Lane. I always think of Joe Crawford with that. Joe Crawford’s a good guy.
Why do you think you’ve always had so many issues with refs?
Because I don’t fall for the stupid star calls. I let them know what it is. If it is a foul that I know I committed, then I’ll politely raise my hand, “Yeah, I committed that foul.” But, if it’s some kind of ticky-tack stuff, then of course I’ve got to express my opinion.
I know you said on media day that your wife had some suggestions for you to act with the officials, be nicer to them and you tried it for a while, but it didn’t work out?
Oh, definitely, she said, “When they’re smart when they call a bad call, just smile and do this and that.” One time when I was with the Pistons, we were playing in Cleveland and [Zydrunas] Ilgauskas and [Anderson] Varejao they tried to hurt me, they fouled me hard and we all fell to the ground. So I’m laughing, “Ha ha, you all tried to hurt me, but couldn’t,” and I got a tech for it. I’m like, “How did I get a tech? I’m the one who got fouled.” So, it’s all part of it. I’m not worried about it no more.
Is there an outside limit to your range?
No, not really to be honest.
Doc said, “He has the green light. When he wants to shoot, he can shoot.”
I think that’s coming from part of the veteran leadership because Doc knows I’m pretty much a smart basketball player. Of course, I’m not saying I don’t take dumb shots sometimes, but I try to limit them as much as I can.
How do you pronounce your name?
Rasheed. Like Rah-sheed.