Mr. Big Shot

Amazing things happen on the various basketball courts around the NBA. Posterizing dunks, unbelievable passes, superstars cutting through defenders like they are seeing everything happening in slow motion, shooters feeling it and throwing up cruise missiles that just can’t miss…but there is one thing that is even more special.

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It is hard to put into words, but it is basically the moment when a player takes on the mentality of the city he is playing for (and the fans take on the mentality of the player) – the moment you realize that you have an amazing franchise player. There are only so many guys that you would love to be the spokesman of your city – so many things have to fall into place: talent on the court, class act off the court, a true leader, a guy who can take over games, delivering in the clutch, always having the confidence you need to win…

Mr. Big Shot was Detroit.

You couldn’t wish to have a better person on your roster. He knew how to lead a team, how to motivate others and when it was time to put his mark on the game – all while looking like it’s nothing. Don’t get me wrong, you could see him fighting for it, but when he made the shot every gesture of him was screaming: What did you expect? Of course this shot was going in. Like there was a doubt about it…sheesh… but in a non-arrogant way. You figure out…

You are probably asking yourself why I’m writing about Mr. Big Shot as if he is dead. Well, because he is. Chauncey Billups is still alive, of course, but Mr. Big Shot retired the day they traded Chauncey to the Nuggets. I’m not trying to say that Billups left his clutch shooting in Detroit, but that his nickname was more than a nickname – it was a bond between the city and him. You know, I’m pretty sure people will talk about him in thirty years:

Like we would ever forget…

I’ve been watching a few Nuggets games before the trade, because it was fun watching Melo, A.I. and J.R. Smith kill other teams when they were hot, but there were plenty of chaotic things happening on the court. They lacked somebody who knows how to manage a game, control the speed and set up other players in positions were they thrive.

After Chauncey arrived, they had what they needed. I don’t know who the leader of the team is, but I know who is actually controlling the game on the floor: the born leader. Some guys just know how to do it.

Do you think Rodney Stuckey would be the same player he is now without the time he spent watching Chauncey from the bench or in training?

To stop all my chaotic babbling and bring it to an end: Thank you, Chauncey. Thank you, not only for the player you are, but for the person you are. No matter where you play and what you do, you will forever be a Detroit Piston.

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