One-on-one: Billups talks Pistons memories

Posted at 7:12 PM, Feb 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-09 19:12:31-05

Chauncey Billups didn't mask his feelings, walking into The Palace a little over 24 hours before his jersey retirement ceremony.

He was here last month to celebrate Ben Wallace's No. 3 jersey ascend to the rafters, but this time it's all about him.

"When I was here for Ben (Wallace)'s, I was here really 95 percent just celebrating his thing, and five percent looking and thinking, 'Wow man, this is going to be me,'" Billups said.

Joining the Pistons in 2002, the 39-year-old admitted at that point, seeing his jersey enter the rafters at any arena was the furthest idea from his mind.

Billups recalled two productive years in Minnesota, where he learned from veterans on his Timberwolves team. He said they helped mold him before he ultimately moved onto Detroit.

"I did think that I would become a very, very good player in this league -- possibly even an All-Star at some point."

Then he paused.

"Did I think that this would happen, and I would have a chance to go up in the rafters with some of the greatest players to ever play in this game, especially in this city? No." 

Billups called Isiah Thomas his favorite point guard. He said he grew up loving the way Joe Dumars played the game. To watch his jersey hang next to theirs is one thing. To put it into words is another.

The Denver-area native told me he doesn't have a speech ready for Wednesday night, but he's 'working on something.'

As for the introduction he'll receive? He's heard it a few hundred times.

"I will say, I hear it all over the world. I've been all over the world and people will try to duplicate Mason's introduction to me," he told me with a laugh.

So does Mr. Big Shot take a shot at imitating the intro from time to time?

"Nah. Nobody should ever try to duplicate that."

Sounds like No. 1 on a Pistons jersey. Billups told me his number and Wallace's No. 3 will both go out of circulation in Auburn Hills after the 2015-16 season.

So get a good look at it on Wednesday night.

Brad Galli is a sports anchor and reporter at WXYZ Detroit. Follow Brad on Twitter @BradGalli