- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Technically, Rasheed Wallace has the shortest fuse in the NBA.

The All-Star power forward for the Detroit Pistons leads the league with 12 technical fouls. Ordinarily, this would mean only that Wallace had little chance of breaking his own record of 41 technicals set in 2000-01 with the Portland Trail Blazers. But this season, there’s an anti-Rasheed rule: Beginning with the 16th technical and for every one thereafter, a player will be fined $2,500 and suspended for one game.

This puritan legislation comes from Der Kommissar Stern and the same people who brought you the dress code, and it’s a reaction to the Brawl — you know, the one Nov. 19, 2004, in which Wallace played peacemaker.

Ron Artest, Jermaine O’Neal and Stephen Jackson of the Indiana Pacers went postal on the good people of Detroit, and Wallace proudly stood in the middle — as a voice of reason.

Wallace used to be a walking technical foul. He was T’d up in and thrown out of the McDonald’s All-American High School Basketball Game. In his 11-year NBA career, Wallace has amassed 236 technicals, and that’s just in the regular season.

In the 2000 playoffs, referee Ron Garretson T’d up Wallace for staring at him.

The following season, when he had his record 41 technicals, Wallace drew one in five consecutive games, and his longest stretch without one was five games.

Wallace was seen as what’s wrong with the game, the reason the Trail Blazers couldn’t get past the Los Angeles Lakers, the scourge of a nation.

That was the old Wallace. This is the new one: a kinder, gentler 6-foot-11 champion with a championship belt.

But the league doesn’t see this. Instead, it has instituted a rule that could hurt Wallace and the Pistons during the second half of the season as they try to secure homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs.

But look on the bright side. The new rule also could hurt the league’s new villain.

Kobe Bryant is second in the league with 11 technical fouls.


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