Rashard Lewis didn’t play in the first half of the Wizards’ 98-77 win over the Detroit Pistons and was heckled for a large portion of a game by a fan seated near the visiting team bench. During a timeout, Lewis stood up and the fan shouted, “Hey, Rashard. I came to see you! Who do I need to talk to?”
Lewis, who had missed the previous three games nursing a sore right knee, responded to the heckler, “I got a flat tire.”
Lewis didn’t know at the time if he was going to play, or if Coach Randy Wittman would need him. He only dressed in case of an emergency and was hoping to get in at least one more practice before returning to the floor. But not only did Wittman need Lewis, but Lewis found the night to be especially rewarding, as he helped the Wizards (6-22) get their second road win of the season and joined Jason Kidd and Paul Pierce as the only players in NBA history with at least 15,000 points, 5,000 rebounds and 1,500 three-pointers made.
“It feel good. I’m most definitely happy and excited about it,” Lewis said. “I’ve been playing in the NBA for a long time. This just tells me I’ve had a pretty successful career. Not a lot of people can be on that list.”
When Lewis entered the game late in the third period, the Wizards led 66-63, but the team scored 15 unanswered points over the next four minutes. Shortly after the Lewis entered the game, Wittman called Lewis over to him, and the heckler shouted, “Hey, Coach! Leave Rashard alone! He knows what he’s doing. He got it.”
Lewis really did have it. And he now has 15,006 career points, 5,183 rebounds and 1,690 three-pointers.
“Sam Cassell just told me I passed him up,” Lewis, 32, said with a laugh, though Cassell actually scored 15,635 points over his career. “I never took anything for granted, and getting drafted in the second round, being able to play for 13, this my 14th year. It’s just definitely an honor and a blessing to still be in the NBA.”
He made two three-pointers, scored 10 points, had three rebounds in just under 12 minutes played against Detroit. The Wizards outscored the Pistons 32-10 while Lewis was on the floor. Lewis made a three-pointer to give the Wizards an 87-65 lead, then made a free throw to become the 121st player to score at least 15,000 points in their career.
He is one of just 22 active players, joining Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Ray Allen, Tim Duncan, Pierce, Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison, Tracy McGrady, LeBron James, Kidd, Grant Hill, Steve Nash, Jerry Stackhouse, Juwan Howard, Jason Terry, Chauncey Billups, Shawn Marion, Elton Brand, Carmelo Anthony and Richard Hamilton. Anthony and Hamilton also reached the milestone this season.
“That makes it even better, when you get to 15,000 points and also get the win,” Lewis said.
The tire wasn’t too flat. After Lewis buried his second three-pointer from the corner, the heckler stood up, raised his hands and shouted, “Shard, that’s what I came here for!”
“He kept talking to me and I couldn’t talk to him,” Lewis said. “I was trying to focus on the game, pay more attention to the game, because I knew coach could call my name at any time. But I love interacting with the fans. I think it not only makes you feel good, but when you’re talking to them, it makes them feel good.”
Wizards public relations staffer Daren Jenkins saved the basketball, which will be painted and embroidered with the accomplishment. A beaming Lewis already has plans for it. “l’ll probably send it home to mom so she can keep it at her house,” he said.