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The other side of Rasheed

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Rasheed Wallace didn't drop any controversial bombshells about Flip Saunders or his future in Detroit during his appearance at SNYX Sneaker Studio last night, but he also didn't leave those fans who came out to see him empty handed. From Terry Foster of the Detroit News:

The millionaire stood in the rain for 10 minutes with rain snapping into his face, signing red-and-blue T-shirts for boys and girls who sang his name.

This wasn't part of the bargain for Rasheed Wallace. The deal was for him to come to the Derrick Coleman-owned Synx Sneaker Studio, promote his new Rasheed Wallace Air Force 1 gym shoe, talk to a few youngsters and then be driven back home, where he would celebrate his son Nazir's fifth-grade graduation.

The rain and autograph session in a weed-choked alley was not part of the bargain. It happened because kids waited in the rain to meet him and Wallace felt an obligation to make their drenching wait worthwhile. [...]

"Sheed, can you sign this," young kids begged.

"Hang on," Wallace said. "I ain't going anywhere."

And he didn't.

"Y'all know I grew up in a neighborhood just like this," he said.

Earlier during the appearance, he participated in a Q&A session inside the store:

"You know people say I got an attitude problem," Wallace told his audience, which drew laughter. "People think that I am the same way off the court that I am on the court. That's not true. On the court, I am at work. When you are at work or at school, you don't want people bothering you. You're at work. You got a job to do."

But he does not want people knowing much about good Sheed. I ran into a man the other day who told me about all the wonderful things Wallace does in the community. And his charity work comes with one small price.

Don't tell anybody.

He wants the world to see him as big and bad, sometimes unapproachable and tough.

That's why he tries to keep things like his impromptu autograph session in an inner-city alley under wraps. This is his human side. This is Rasheed Wallace feeling comfortable in an environment where he got his start.

"Is that it?" he said as the final autograph was signed.

For what it's worth, I've heard the same thing Foster has from various people who've interacted with Wallace off the court. Some guys only show up for charity events with lots of cameras, other guys only do it when the cameras are turned off. I'm sure it drives Rasheed's agent crazy, but I can respect that.