Jared Dubin of Hardwood Paroxysm has a great post about about Rasheed Wallace’s lone game with the Atlanta Hawks in 2004, before the Pistons traded for him:
Everyone in NBA circles knew Wallace was headed out of town sooner rather than later, but he didn’t care, because for that night at least, the Hawks were cutting the check. Check out his quotes to reporters after the game, and it’s like you wouldn’t even know that this was his first – and likely to be his only – game with the Hawks. When asked about being the first team in the Nets’ 10-game win streak to not lose by double-digits, Sheed responded:
“Everybody thinks that just because we’re the Hawks we’re going to roll over and die. Maybe that was the thing before, but not now.”
Rasheed Wallace, 2/18/04
That, to me, does not sound like a guy who just got there, nor like a guy on his way out of town two days later. But Sheed took immediate ownership of the team and the situation, because that’s what Sheed did, everywhere he went. When he was with you, he was with you, whether it was for one day or for five years. He’d play for whomever cut the check, but as with everything, he’d do it on his terms.
I still remember interviews during future seasons where Hawks players praised how great of a teammate Wallace was.