Who Loves Rasheed? We'll Find out Next Summer

By McGraw, Mike | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 15, 2003 | Go to article overview

Who Loves Rasheed? We'll Find out Next Summer


McGraw, Mike, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Mike McGraw Daily Herald Sports Writer

There will be a fascinating case study in the NBA next summer.

Rasheed Wallace - Portland's underacheiving, unhappy, conspiracy theorist - hits the open market as a free agent. It will be a chance for teams to line up, offer their millions and possibly present to fans a new face of the franchise.

Will there be any takers? That's an interesting question. There shouldn't be, but unwise decisions are a habit of some NBA teams.

In case you missed it, Wallace spouted philosophically to the Oregonian newspaper last week. The 6-foot-11 forward usually shuns interviews and spends pregame media time rapping along to music playing in his headphones.

But this time Wallace made an exception and had some interesting thoughts saved up.

"I see behind the lines," he said. "I see behind the false screens. I know what this business is all about. I know the commissioner of this league makes more than three-quarters of the players in this league."

Imagine that. Somehow Wallace uncovered the fact that Commissioner David Stern is well compensated for helping turn the NBA into a successful enterprise.

"In my opinion, they just want to draft (African-Americans) who are dumb and dumber - straight out of high school," Wallace added. "That's why they're drafting all these high school cats, because they come into the league and they don't know no better. They don't know no better, and they don't know the real business, and they don't see behind the charade.

"They look at black athletes like we're dumb (bleep). It's as if we're just going to shut up, sign for the money and do what they tell us."

OK, let's stop and put these comments into perspective. Wallace is the fourth-highest-paid player in the NBA this season at $17 million.

He spoke to the Oregonian one day after taking 6 shots and scoring 3 points in Portland's home loss to Washington. Over the years, Wallace has become less effective as a player by drifting away from the basket and firing more 3-pointers. Not coincidentally, the Blazers have not won a playoff series since 2000, despite having the league's highest payroll.

Wallace did apologize for the language he used in the interview. He also confessed that he regrets his 2002 arrest for marijuana possession - but only because it upset his family.

"I know I'm Public Enemy No. 1," Wallace said. "Fifty percent (of the fans) hate me and 50 percent love me no matter what I do."

In about seven months, Wallace might need to put on a happier face if he goes in search of a new team. Meanwhile, Portland fans are surely protesting a gross overestimate of the "Love Rasheed" population.

Hurt remains for Hurley: The Sacramento Bee caught up with Bobby Hurley on the 10-year anniversary of his near-fatal car accident.

On Dec. 12, 1993, Hurley was leaving Arco Arena in his Toyota 4Runner, seat belt unbuckled, following his 19th game as an NBA rookie. While making a left turn, his vehicle was struck by a station wagon.

While his vehicle rolled, Hurley was thrown into a deep ditch and ended up lying in a foot of water. Fortunately, another motorist got to him quickly. …

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