Yesterday the Detroit Pistons retired the Number 32 worn by Richard “Rip” Hamilton. Part of the “Goin to Work” Pistons he wore the Number 32 for 10 seasons in Detroit, winning the 2oo3-04 Championship over the Lakers.
Getting to the Pistons he was traded on September 11, 2002, by the Washington Wizards with Hubert Davis and Bobby Simmons to the Detroit Pistons for Brian Cardinal, Jerry Stackhouse and Ratko Varda.
After being drafted 7th by Washington in 1999, he never lived up to the Wizards expectations, 3 seasons later the trade went down and was Joe Dumars third vital piece in a series of moves to bring together the Goin to Work Pistons.
Never spectacular at any particular thing, his mid range shot was deadly (and his 3pt shot was underrated in which he lead the league in percentage in 05-06 with 45.8%, he didn’t take many however 1.7 3PA in his career). But what stood out was his endurance, which showed on both ends. Either running down the baseline and back out while getting open from his teammate’s screens (he and Reggie in those Pacers battles were great to watch) or pestering opposing guards on defence.
I’ve got a lot of respect for Rip, great player on the court and great man off it, one of my favourite players of his generation. And then there was the iconic mask…