Looking at Rasheed Wallace’s one-game career with the Atlanta Hawks.
Rasheed Wallace was one of the most talented two-way players in the league, that along with Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki, helped redefine the power forward position in the early-2000’s. Some remember him as a Portland Trail Blazer, where he spent eight seasons, others as a member of the Pistons where he played six seasons, winning the 2004 Finals. I choose to remember him as a member of the Atlanta Hawks.
He didn’t spend eight years in Atlanta, or even six. In fact, he didn’t spend a year at all with the Hawks. Wallace played a single game for the Hawks back in February of 2004.
Wallace began the ’03-’04 season in Portland, where he’d been since being traded by Washington after his first season which earned him All-Rookie honors. He made two All-Star games for Portland and helped lead his ‘Jail Blazer’ teams to two Western Conference Finals appearances.
The controversial forward who averaged 0.53 technical fouls per game in the 2000-2001 season was shipped to Atlanta in February of 2004. The Hawks traded Dan Dickau, Theo Ratliff, and Shareef Abdur-Rahim to acquire Wallace and Wesley Person.
The Hawks were not a good team, and adding a two-time All-Star in the prime of his career was an odd choice. It made sense later as the Hawks would flip him to Detroit just a few days later, ending Wallace’s Hawks career before it really began.
As mentioned, Rasheed played a total of one game in a Hawks’ uniform, tallying 41 minutes in a loss to the New Jersey Nets, fresh off two straight Finals appearances. Wallace played pretty well, taking a team-high 24 shots (making eight) for 20 points adding five blocks and managing to play nearly the entire game without picking up a single personal foul.
The aforementioned trade to Detroit came the next day, in a three-team deal that also included the Boston Celtics. The Hawks’ main get from that trade was a first-round pick that ended up being future fan favorite and Dunk Contest champion, Josh Smith. Smith would also play in Detroit later in his career.
Wallace joined a Pistons team already known for their mighty defense, and started all of their 23-game run to a championship, beating the final iteration of the Shaq-Kobe Lakers teams in five.
‘Sheed ended up staying five more years in the Motor City, making two more All-Star appearances before ending his career on the Celtics then Knicks.
The Atlanta Hawks went 13-69 the following year, their worst mark in franchise history. Ball don’t lie.