Through all of the trade rumors of this offseason, all of the questions about his health and whether he’s washed up and through adding another veteran who plays the same position as him, Pistons captain Rip Hamilton has remained silent.
That is, until writer Ben Sin caught up with him at a NBA promotional event in China for SLAM Magazine. Hamilton said he’s fully healthy, he hasn’t talked to Tracy McGrady yet and he still believes he’s the best conditioned athlete in the NBA (and, injuries or not, he still might be right about that).
But none of those answers were unexpected. I found this question, and response, about the Pistons run as one of the NBA’s best teams in the 2000s very interesting:
SLAM: Okay, you guys won it all in 2004, and then came so close in 2005—if Sheed didn’t leave Horry open you guys may have won in that year—and then from ‘06 to ‘08 you guys were right there too. So really, a break here, a bounce there and you guys could have two to four rings. Do you feel a bit of regret looking back? Like, “damn we coulda been one of the greatest teams ever”?
Hamilton: Not at all, I’m happy I got one. How many times do you hear guys say “we were right there” and came up short? It’s tough, man. We won one, and yeah we had opportunities to win again and we didn’t, but to walk away with one ring, five rings, two rings, you still taste that champagne.
Hamilton’s response is understandable — he’s still playing, and I think every player who’s currently playing feels to some degree like he’ll still have a shot at a title again before retiring. But Lin’s question, I think, will become much more relevant as Hamilton, Chauncey Billups, Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace join Rasheed Wallace in retirement one day.