Pistons look at retiring Hamilton’s jersey next
Auburn Hills — After Wednesday night’s ceremony to retire Chauncey Billups’ jersey at The Palace, two members of the 2004 “Goin’ to Work” championship team are commemorated in the rafters.
Even with last month’s raising of Ben Wallace’s No. 3 jersey, the questions were almost immediate: Who would be the next after Billups to have his jersey retired? Would all five members of that starting lineup — including Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince — be destined for that honor?
The answers could be coming soon.
Hamilton, who attended Wednesday’s ceremony along with the other four starters, is under consideration to be next to have his jersey retired, sources confirmed to The Detroit News.
The sources requested anonymity because there is no definite decision pending on the matter.
Last month, Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace and Billups each advocated that all five members should have their numbers retired. Before Wednesday’s game, Billups doubled down, specifically pushing for his backcourt mate.
“Rip Hamilton has to be next; I would love for him to have been next week or next month,” said Billups, who was the 2004 Finals MVP. “Rip Hamilton holds so many records and had a long run here and did a lot of great things in the community. I’m looking forward to that day — and then we can start peeling back more.”
Hamilton played nine seasons with the Pistons and was the leading scorer of that 2004 group. But he ruffled feathers with his acrimonious departure following the 2010-11 season. That rift occurred before the ownership change and things are slowly mending, where Hamilton can be judged on the accomplishments during his career more than the sour taste left by his split with the team and then-president Joe Dumars.
For Hamilton, having the honor of a jersey retirement isn’t the highest priority, but he’s waiting to see what happens.
“It’s not something that I played the game for. When I came to Detroit, I came here to win a championship,” Hamilton said. “As a kid, you grow up watching the NBA and you say I want to win a championship. You don’t say I want my jersey retired.
“But when you can win something like that (NBA championship) with a group of guys, that’s a special feeling.”
On Billups’ special night, Hamilton was eloquent, gracious and humble during a halftime tribute.
“I don’t know where my career would have been without (Billups) and he says the same thing about me. It’s like the perfect marriage. It was a special thing,” Hamilton said after the game.
“That’s my bro. We pushed each other, each and every day. We wouldn’t have been as great without the other.”
Until his individual ceremony, Hamilton has his own satisfaction of being remembered at The Palace.
“My jersey is up there — and that’s from winning that championship, that banner,” he said.