You can surely remember that kid in school that used to drive the teachers crazy. He always sat at the end of the class, had the courage of eating chewing gum during the lessons even though it was not allowed. He usually arrived late, never had his homework done and looked as if he had just got up from a nap.
And yet, whenever the teacher asked him a question about a subject he always seemed to know best. When the tests arrived he got surprisingly good marks, never the best but good enough to make everyone wonder what happened to that boy.
He was the funniest guy in the class, always telling jokes, nicknaming classmates...sometimes he even made the teachers laugh out loud. He had all the talent, the intelligence but you could feel he was too clever to actually have any interest on any of those seemingly trivial subjects that we already suspected would have not a lot of use in our adult life.
We all know Rasheed Wallace very well and that's why this man has never left anyone indifferent.
He may very well be one of the top 3 big men this team has had since Kevin McHale retired. His post up moves are unique, technically perfect. His long arms allow him to be virtually unblockable and he has the patience and the experience to execute his shots perfectly. He can shoot from anywhere on the court, even from 3 point distance. He knows he can, so he tries to live from that shot because it grants you 3 points while working under the glass needs effort and it only gives you 2.
He can be one of the best defenders in the league. When he is inspired he can block anyone and guard the most difficult players to defend, such as Howard or Nowitzki. Even though he is 35, he can keep his position when he feels it's needed.
But Rasheed likes the challenges, can't live without the adrenaline of not having the homework done, can't play without the passion of proving that he is right while everyone else is not. He knows he can do what we wants out there, the rules of the game are no secret to him and that's why he continuously challenges referees, coaches, fans and even teammates.
Mr Wallace is the wise guy, the extremely talented and intelligent guy that knows the answers and yet sometimes he only wants to be asked questions. He needs to see the fall, the menace of the failing mark to go back to studying and doing the dirty work.
And what drives fans crazy is that deep inside we would all like to be like him: talented, successful, clever and funny. He is the joy of the party, the wise guy, the clever one. He makes us smile, shout and jump. He is able to create all kinds of feelings in people around him. Despite his reputation in Detroit and Portland, all his teammates say good things about him, everybody loves to be around Sheed.
Rasheed Wallace will win another NBA championship with the Boston Celtics, and then he will go back home with the pride of proving his talent right, while leaving nobody indifferent. Isn't it what everybody wants, to leave a mark in this life? To be noticed and provoke emotions?
Maybe you just realized that the kid sitting at the end of the class, the witty one that you will always remember with a smile on your face, is just your own reflection in the mirror.