Firstly, the Ben Wallace jersey retirement ceremony Saturday night was as great as we all thought it would be -- such a special Palace atmosphere, strong speeches from every speaker, even that old pal Mehmet Okur was able to make it out.
Just everything was on point.
I wasn't in attendance, but I was watching at home via a VPN led feed live during China's mid-morning. That VPN and feed came through without a hitch and allowed me to enjoy the moment with such smooth quality. Watching something on a computer screen was never so comfortable, never so worth it.
It's a small thing, sure, to watch a celebration of an athlete who played a game for a living. But, it's the qualities of the player and the qualities of the overall team, even franchise too, that make it so special, that make it potentially inspirational. To see your hometown team's legend, on his night, bask in all that glory with the people who mean the most to him and those who helped him along the journey in his career and the championship season, that's worth a ton.
Being a basketball fan is also a small thing. Us fans enjoy this game of basketball, whether we really like it, or, in fact, flat out love it. A lot of us grew up watching and trying to emulate these Pistons on the hardwood in our own unique way. It's of small importance in life, watching basketball. It's a fun piece of life though, even if it's just turning on the TV in the evening after work to watch strangers play. After some time, if the strangers are doing it the right way and have success, these strangers don't seem like such strangers anymore. For many, they become role models, leaders, legends, heroes, or maybe just simply good dudes going to battle for your favorite team in the world's best basketball league.
Ben Wallace was a little bit of all of them.
If I was ever to run into Ben Wallace by chance in public, whether it's in a store, gas station, wherever or whenever, I'm not sure I would be able to say anything coherent right away. If Ben was still there listening after my probable initial stammering, I hope I could manage a simple 'you are the man, Mr. Wallace. I still have your bobble-head doll. Ummm, anyway, I loved the years when you were in Detroit. Great memories and I will always remember them. Sorry to bother you.'
Hope I can roll with that.
Tom Gores said something in his speech that I found especially meaningful -- it was that Ben Wallace doesn't 'deserve' this, he's 'earned' this. That's a perfect summation.
And that Sheed speech, boy was that the definition of short and sweet AND from the bottom of his heart.
Larry Brown's words? Bingo.
Big Ben's own speech was excellent, despite Ben not being the most natural public speaker around. His comments on Richard Hamilton were hilarious and his Tayshaun Prince bit was classic. I loved what Ben said about Tayshaun, and loved how he said it -- the crowd and everyone absolutely loved it, too. I watched the ceremony clips a few more times after the fact. I think Tayshaun, if you look closely at him when Ben was talking, became a little emotional. Just a little liquid shine or quiver in Tayshaun's eyes. When Ben said 'big blocks, big stops, had to guard the best perimeter (player) on the floor night in and night out" -- that was moving. I started to feel something there.
As for the Pistons-Warriors action on the hardwood, what else could have gone right?
The starters were efficient on both sides of the ball. Reggie and Andre played their game (that deep Andre hook over Green though), Marcus Morris hitting a few tough turn around jumpers, Ersan's swatting shots and making rainbows. Caldwell-Pope said screw it, I'm going to be disruptive on defense and be a factor on offense with some wet mid range shots.
Tolliver's pump fake and then the drive to the hole for a dunk. Baynes with his offensive flashes, showing he might have a teeny bit of Mikan in him. Steve Blake running the team and draining treys cold off the bench. Stanley Johnson's energy and timely shot making.
All the Big Ben jersey retirement ceremony related goodness on DBB
All three videos of the ceremony here.
Ben Wallace Top Ten here.
Big Ben links roundup, past and present here.
mophatt1's Pistons-Warrior game recap here.
Or go to the Remember Ben Wallace stream to find it all here.
Kobe Bryant says congrats to Big Ben (Fox Sports)
Ben Wallace's down-to-earth qualities shine through on big night -- Detroit News
Wallace said he got a couple calls about getting into coaching but he's not quite ready to make that step.
"I got quite a few calls, but for me, I'm still too close to the game," he said. "I don't want to get to the point where I'm out here trying to coach and teach a young guy something and keep putting myself in that position, ‘When I was playing, I used to do this and that.'
"That's not going to help me and not going to help him. I'm not far enough away from the game where I can be a fair and honest coach."
Explain One Play: Illegal Screen Calls Wipe Out Two Curry 3s -- Golden State Of Mind
As the author writes, 'This is a deep dive video analysis of plays from the Pistons-Warriors game.'
It certainly is, have a check.
Data Dimes: Draymond Green deal stands out as off-season high point -- SI.com
Even those who were generous enough to give Jackson's hefty new contract the benefit of the doubt likely expected some regression. Instead, the Boston College product has become a top 10 point guard by PER.
Will Bynum shines in CBA All-Star Game Sunday -- Shanghai Daily
I love this part:
Both teams shone in attacking the rim, the home audiences cheered for Yi Jianlian's alley-oops assisted by Will Bynum, his teammate in Guangdong. The six-feet-tall point guard also finished an alley-oop himself with the help of the floor. He had 19 points and 14 assists.
BTW, Michael Beasley scored 63 points in the game.
OK, the plan for Monday is to beat those Bulls again. See ya.