Wednesday 06th December 2023,
The Hoop Doctors

Rasheed Wallace: Forever in the History Books

As a lifelong basketball fan, there have been many times I have been asked the question: what records will never be broken? There are a few obvious answers when this question arises: the 95-96 Bulls going 72-10, Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 point game, and the Lakers’ 33 game winning streak. Some records, unfortunately, are more embarrassing than others. However, while being embarrassing, they are just as unbreakable as the ones mentioned above.

After 15 seasons in the league, Rasheed Wallace decided to hang up his headband and retire at the end of last season. There is a good chance Wallace will take with him a record that will never be broken. In the 2000-2001 season, Wallace set the record for most technical fouls in a season with 41. Folks, let me tell you right now, that record will never be broken.

To start the 2010-2011 season, the league has implemented stricter technical foul rules, in an effort to clean up the game. Now, players will be assessed a technical foul for acts such as: running directly at a game official to complain about a call, throwing air punches, and excessive inquiries about a call, even if it is in a civilized manner. After watching many games this season, I have seen players assessed technical fouls for practically breathing too hard. Even without all of the new technical foul rules, I think Sheed’s record would still have a good chance of never being broken. However, with all of the new rules, it is almost a guarantee the record is safe.

One could argue, with the rules being stricter, it would put the record in Jeopardy. However, the suspension rule, which was implemented in 2006 and has carried over with the new rules for 2010-2011, make it nearly impossible. Players must serve a one game suspension after receiving their 16th technical foul of the season. Every technical foul after the 16th will result in a one game suspension without pay. Based on these new rules, the math heavily favors Sheed.

Rasheed received 41 technical fouls, in a total of 80 games including the postseason in 2000-2001. That is a little more than one technical foul every two games. Although I am sure there were plenty of games when he received two in one game, let’s pretend a player started the season at the pace of receiving one every two games, while playing 80 total games like Wallace did in 2000-01. After getting a technical foul every other game, the player would hit their 16th technical after their 32nd game of the season, therefore, being forced to sit out the 33rd game of the season. That would leave 47 games remaining. If the player continued to get a technical foul every other game after their 16th technical, they would end up sitting out 15 of the remaining 47 games, based on the current suspension rule.

That would mean the player would finish the season with 31 technical fouls in 80 games. I realize some players play more than 80 games in a season. However, setting a pace of getting a technical foul every two games is very hard to do. Especially, if the players conform to the new rules and quit complaining so much.

So, next time someone asks you: what is one record that will never be broken? You may be inclined to mention the Bulls, Lakers, or Wilt. However, it is just as safe to mention Sheed’s 41 technical fouls in one season.

Joshua Sexton is a lifelong basketball fanatic, who watches as many games as possible. In addition, He has played and coached the game at the high school level. He has recently started writing about the game of basketball.

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