An Overdue Commemoration of Rasheed Wallace’s Atlanta Hawks Tenure

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.

Current Brooklyn Nets’ interim head coach Jacque Vaughn played six minutes off the bench for Atlanta, while fellow trade acquisition Wesley Person played 21 minutes.

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.

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