Richard Hamilton uses stretch time before games to look around The Palace. That's when trainer Arnie Kander turns him into a human pretzel and Hamilton's eyes roam.
When he looks up, he sees championship banners from 1989 and 1990. He sees banners with the names of Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars and Bill Laimbeer. His dream is to see a banner with his name up there.
"Man, I would look up there and say I got to get there," Hamilton said Monday. "And the only way to get up there is to win championships and win games. We won a championship. I did that. Now my job is to win another and be the best player I can be."
Hamilton wants to remain a Piston for life.
That's why he hopes trade rumors involving him aren't true.
When the Pistons signed shooting guard Ben Gordon from the Bulls in the offseason, many speculated Hamilton's days in Detroit were numbered.The question was, will there be enough balls to go around for Hamilton and Gordon, who averaged a combined 39 points last season?
Pistons president Joe Dumars refused to comment on the speculation.
For Hamilton this is par for the course. He has heard trade rumors for years.
"Man, we hear our names (in trade rumors) all the time," Hamilton said, breaking into a big grin.
"All we can do is play."
Gordon like a brother
Hamilton believes the experts have it wrong.
They don't understand the bond he has with Gordon.
He said he has become Gordon's "big brother" and that he's taught Gordon how things work with the Pistons. He says they are building a relationship, not fighting over the ball.
Gordon concurred, saying he loves when the Pistons go to a three-guard set and he gets to play alongside Hamilton.
"We need each other," Hamilton said. "I can't do it by myself and I don't think he can do it by himself. In order for us to win we are going to have to help each other out."
The next question, though, is, if by playing small ball -- the Pistons want to speed things up by playing Will Bynum or Rodney Stuckey alongside Hamilton and Gordon -- do the Pistons have enough up front to hold off better rebounding and more physical teams?
Hamilton believes the Pistons have the bulk andthe guard play to win this season.
And he wants to stay.
That wasn't always the case.
Take last season, when Hamilton went through the toughest season of his career.
The Pistons traded his friend and backcourt mate Chauncey Billups to the Nuggets for Allen Iverson, who replaced Hamilton in the starting lineup until he was banished from the team.
Hamilton was hurt by the slight, but one of the first things new coach John Kuester did was try to patch things up.
Hamilton admits it was a test on his love for the team.
"But at the end of the day I still wanted to remain here," he said. "That was the positive thing. I love the city. I love the fans. We brought a championship here and hopefully we can find a way to get back to the promised land."
Hamilton dreams of the Hall of Fame and wants to walk out before his fans as a retired man and watch his number and name lifted high.
"Man, that would just be awesome," Hamilton said, breaking into a wide smile. "It would be awesome to be part of a dynasty, and when you look up into the rafters you not only see Hall of Fame guys but to be a part of it, that would be great.
"And when you talk about the great ones, they are mentioned with their teams. You don't just say Michael Jordan. You say Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics."
All Hamilton wants is for his name to be mentioned in the same fashion ...
Richard Hamilton and the Detroit Pistons.
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