Rasheed Wallace was briefly a teammate of Allen Iverson last season in Detroit. That was before the mercurial guard left the game because of his reserve role that he despised.
The same situation may be occurring in Memphis, where Iverson has taken a leave of absence from the Grizzlies because of what has been reported as personal reasons.
But he did not hide his disdain for his bench role during a three-game stint. Wallace talked about Iverson and about realizing when your physical skills are diminishing in your 30s.
“I haven’t talked to (Iverson) since the summer and I don’t want to give my opinion because I don’t know the whole story on what’s going on down there,” he said. “But I’m pretty sure it’s tough for him. That’s part of it. I guess he didn’t like the situations that he was put in.”
Wallace admitted that he had to adjust to losing some of his physical capabilities.
“I’ve already accepted that I can’t jump no more,” he said. “I’m not as fast as I used to be. I accepted that already. That’s where you become more smart, make that first step or two before that first player could get there. Or I got make this jump shot; give him a little pump fake because he can jump higher than me. So to me, once you lose that step or two, that’s when you pick up a step or two with your head.”
Wallace is making a similar change of roles as Iverson, coming off the bench for the first time in his career. He is warming to his new responsibility.
“One thing my high school coach told me was the day you stop learning about the game of basketball is the day you need to go ahead and hang them up,” he said. “So with me coming off the bench this year, it’s an adjustment for me having started the last 13-14 years, it’s an adjustment but one I have made before in my career with (North) Carolina, I didn’t start there right away and the same thing in high school. Sometimes, depending on the mentality of that person, it can be an advantage of disadvantage.”