In a 2011 interview, Chauncey Billups told Yahoo! Sports he was “tired of being the good guy.”
The reason why he said that was because he was looking for a team to play and contribute on and most teams were looking at the 2004 NBA Finals MVP as just a mentor and locker room leader type. He did find a new team in the Clippers but due to various injuries, he didn’t get to play much. The injuries followed him in his return to Detroit the following year.
Three years after the “tired of being the good guy” quote to Yahoo, Billups told them he is officially retiring after 17 years in the league.
“It’s just time. I know when it’s time,” Billups told Yahoo Sports. “My mind and my desire is still strong. I just can’t ignore the fact that I haven’t been healthy for three years. I can try again and get to a point where I think I can go, but I just can’t sustain. Me not being able to play the way that I can play, that’s when you kind of know it’s that time.”
Most people will only have fond memories of “Mr Big Shot” but there was a time when I didn’t think his career was ever going to take off and was ready to label him as a bust after a few rocky years.
After dominating Colorado basketball in High School, winning Player of the year twice and Mr. Basketball three times, he attended the University of Colorado, where he played well for two seasons before entering the NBA draft.
The absolutely horrible (understatement) Denver Nuggets wanted him at the number 5 spot but the Celtics took him at 3. Interesting note about the 97 draft is the Celtics had the worst record in the league and had the best odds at getting the #1 pick (Tim Duncan) but ended up with the #3 and #6 pick, while the Spurs, who tanked the season before, managed to win the Duncan sweepstakes.
Not only did the Celtics put the cuffs on Billups way too early by limiting his minutes, they traded him midway through the season to the Raptors for aging vet Kenny Anderson. He then had a short not so memorable stint back in Denver before they traded him to Orlando where he never even suited up for a game. The next season, he was signed to the TWolves to back up Terrell Brandon. Luck for Billups, Brandon would go down with an injury, which allowed him to get some extra PT which eventually helped him get a spot on the Detroit Pistons roster in 2002.
The next thing you know, the forgotten draft bust was winning Defensive awards, All-Star spots and an NBA Finals MVP Award when they beat the new-look Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals.
10 years later, we bid farewell to one of the true good guys in the NBA.