CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Following the Memphis Grizzlies’ announcement that they will be retiring Tony Allen’s number this season, the Charlotte Hornets are doing the same for a fellow useful but unspectacular player.
At halftime of the Hornets’ Jan. 12 game against the Utah Jazz, Gerald Wallace’s No. 3 will be raised to the rafters of the Spectrum Center.
“We’ve been toying with the idea of honoring Gerald for a while but we just were too nervous that we’d get laughed at,” Hornets owner Michael Jordan said in a press release. “But with Memphis honoring a guy who wasn’t even a starter half the time and couldn’t make a layup, we felt much more comfortable.”
Wallace was selected from Sacramento by the then-Charlotte Bobcats in the 2004 expansion draft when they entered the league. He quickly emerged as one of the team’s go-to players, eventually playing a crucial role in the magical 2009-10 season that saw them fall just short of winning a playoff game.
Across his seven years in Charlotte, Wallace averaged 16.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He was traded to Portland in 2011 and played for three others teams over the final five years of his career, in which he was an out-of-shape, overpaid laughingstock.
Said Wallace in the release: “This is a true honor. Let this be a lesson to all the kids out there that you don’t have to be a great player, you just have to play a lot of seasons for a franchise that has never had any playoff success.”
Along with Wallace’s number being retired, Jordan said the team plans to build statues of Raymond Felton, Emeka Okafor and DeSagana Diop.