Detroit Pistons Rumors
In the hours leading to his coronation as Pistons royalty, the tears fell as often for Rip Hamilton as his jump shot did all those seasons when The Palace throbbed with the pulse of an NBA championship contender. “I already cried three times today,” he said an hour before the Pistons and Celtics game and the halftime ceremony where his No. 32 was run to the rafters to join Ben Wallace’s No. 3 and Chauncey Billups’ No. 1.
Of the five starters inextricably linked for life, all but Prince began their NBA careers elsewhere. It made them that much more aware and appreciative of the special bond they formed here. Rip said he talks to other players who won championships and asks how often they connect with their teammates. “Some haven’t talked in 10 or 15 years,” he said. “Man, we talk two or three times a week.”
He told the story of writing his goals as a kid on a piece of cardboard he kept above his bedroom door. Every time he accomplished a goal, it would get crossed off and on to the next. “I said I wanted to be an NBA player. I wanted to be an NCAA champion. I wanted to be an NBA champion,” he said. “But not once did I write on that board that one day that jersey would be going up in the rafters.”
“And their window is far from closing,” Van Gundy said. “It’s one thing if you’re a team that’s really up there in age and you’ve got to do something right now, but they don’t. Plus, I look at it with the injuries Cleveland’s had and everything else, I mean, why can’t they make a run? They’re the No. 2 team in the East right now. Why can’t they make a run?”