Before last night's game, in front of the media, Gerald Wallace, shocked from being traded, and tired from traveling, told the fans, the team, the league, and the world, that he would come in here and do whatever it would take to help the team win. He said he would play whatever position that coach Nate wanted him to play. He expressed his pride in doing all the little things it takes to win. Almost every player who is traded to a new team says similar things at their first press conference. It's a standard public relations exercise. However, with Gerald Wallace, there is a general sense of sincerity that emanates from his character.
Then, he sat on the bench and watched the game. When the team flashed his image on the big screen, and the fans gave him welcoming applause, he gave a reserved smile and nodded his head in acknowledgment. His reserved demeanor showed a man who was unsure of his surroundings and who wants to earn the adulation that was being bestowed upon him. He studied the game, watched and observed the team huddles, and soaked it all in with an intelligent and analytical mind.
And what did he see? He saw his new teammates, who were playing severely shorthanded, fight, scrap, and support each other to a very unlikely win. He saw the team start the game with two power forwards, and no center. He saw a variety of players play the center position throughout the game, including Nicolas Batum, who may have never played center before. He saw various players performing in various capacities. He saw a variety of offensive and defensive schemes. He saw the fallen, injury plagued hero, Brandon Roy, save the game at the end of regulation. He saw his words, spoken before the game, expressed in the actions of his teammates on the court during the game. And he saw all this, knowing that a true veteran center, Marcus Camby, is close to returning, and sitting next to another true center, a virtual dormant volcano, Greg Oden, who has yet to play his part in this evolving story.
If Gerald Wallace sincerely intended to be a part of a team, do the dirty work, support his teammates, and contribute to something special before the game, the drama that unfolded in front of his eyes during the game, could only have affirmed his intention and increased his conviction to commit to Blazer Nation.
Contrast that with the player revolt in Detroit, the me first, we first conceit of prima donna free agents around the league that hold organizations and entire cities hostage, and players who value stats, clowning around, and ESPN highlights over the power of camaraderie and conviction.
Gerald Wallace, welcome to Blazer Nation.