My flight from Detroit to NYC was scheduled for 7am Thursday morning, which meant we hadto leave for the airport at about 4:30 am. We arrived at the airport like zombies, each only having about an hour of sleep. Our flight was fine until we made our final decent into the city and the turbulence hit. I have a bad stomach to begin with and I was looking to see where the “bag” was just in case, but when I look over at Michael and he looks green I start to worry. Luckily we land without getting sick and almost kiss the ground when we get there. Still reeling from our flight we walk outside of the airport to get a cab to our hotel. Now something of an omen happens when we sit inside the cab. New York City Taxi cabs are notorious for their disgusting stenches, but the one we had was brand new – new car smell and everything. I comment to the driver that he has a nice new clean cab and he tells us that we are the first ever passengers in it. I turn to Michael and tell him this is going to be a great day.
We check into our hotel in Times Square about ten blocks from where the show is beingtaped. Jeff meets us there and we head off to get a bite to eat before the show. We go back to the hotel and get ready for the show. We each grab our Rasheed Wallace Pistons jerseys out of our bags like we are getting ready for war. Michael brings his custom made jersey that say SHEED on the back instead of Wallace, Jeff puts on his red white and blue armbands and I lace up my Air Force One’s. Now mind you we are in a pretty posh hotel and from the time we walk out of our room until we get in the cab everyone is staring at us like we are nuts, but we could have cared less. It was almost time to see Sheed and we knew it. I had told all the people that emailed me for tickets to tell the people from the show that they were with Need4Sheed.com so they could get in. When we get there we were pretty much the first people there, but the line quickly grew getting longer and longer with people trickling in wearing everything from Pistons jerseys, Wolverines sweaters, and even UNC gear. Finally the people from the show gave the crowd some instructions and then came around to hand out tickets. When I told Melissa (from the show) who we were, she couldn’t have been any nicer. She pulled us out of the line and put us in a separate one. You see when I called the day before and talked to Jackea who originally emailed me, he told me that he was reserving the best seats in the house for us and everyone who was in the group that I got tickets for would also be on the VIP list.
The cool thing about waiting in line was meeting all the fellow Pistons fans who contacted me and whom I got tickets for. Melissa came back up to me and gives me my tickets with a special mark on it so they know I am with Need4Sheed.com and tells me that they told Stephen A. Smith, Rasheed, and his publicist all about me. I had brought a Need4Sheed t-shirt with me to give to Rasheed and asked her if she could take it and make sure he got it. She told me to hold on to it until we got upstairs and then they would take care of it.
Quite Frankly’s staff then took our group up to the studio before all the other people. You then get put into a holding room where there is a big television and bunch of chairs, snacks and refreshments, while you wait to go in to the actual studio for the taping. That was where I finally met Jackea, who made this whole unreal experience happen. Jackea was great, he seemed extremely happy that we could make it and made sure we had everything we needed. I decide just to give the Need4Sheed t-shirt to Jackea because I knew he would get it to Sheed. He took it and said he would make sure he got it. They show ESPN videos while we wait and gave us a few instructions before we actually walk into the studio. About five minutes pass and Jackea walks back up to me and hands me back the t-shirt and informs me that they are going to let me give Sheed the t-shirt during a commercial break. (Sheedtastic!)
Time for the show, where I met Fran who also made sure we had everything we neededwhen we came into the city, she even helped look for hotels that were close to the studio. They put me and the Need4Sheed group right up front. Jeff, Michael and I are now sitting about twenty feet away from where Rasheed will be doing the interview. After everyone gets seated they sent in a guy who warms up the audience before the show and tells you what you can and can’t do. He is a comedian who is pretty funny and gets the audience revved up. When he finds out that we flew in just for the show at the last minute he has a stunned look on his face and then just says, “True fans.” But I know he was thinking we were nuts. Now we had a game plan when we came to the show, when Sheed came out or whenever the audience was applauding we were screaming SHEEEEEED, as loud as we could, just like the way we do it when he’s on the court. I ran it past Jackea before we did it and he gave us the green light.
Showtime – Stephen A. Smith comes out we give him a round of applause he announces that Rasheed Wallace is the guest for the show and we break for commercial. About a minute later the show starts again the whole audience stands up as they announce Rasheed, while we scream SHEEEEEED at the top of our lungs.
Now I’m not going to go into the interview because I am sure you will be watching. At the first commercial break after Rasheed came out, he turned to the audience and said “Who are the people that came in from the D?” We told him it was us and that wejust flew in this morning to see the show. He nodded and said “that’s cool” and he tuned back and finished talking to Stephen A. The interview was great and trust me we screamed SHEEEEEED every time we could. When it was over and Sheed was walking off the set he turned to us and gave us a pound in the air. We then realized they didn’t let me give Rasheed the shirt I brought for him. But, about a minute after Rasheed walked off the set Jackea ran into the studio and took the shirt from me and said he was sorry they forgot to let me give it to him, and ran to get it to him before he left. Moments later I get a thumb’s up from him letting me know that Sheed had the shirt I made for him with his cartoon face larger than life on the front. That’s all I wanted in the first place.
They asked us to stay and took our picture in front of the set of the show and gave us each a Quite Frankly backpack and an ESPN t-shirt. The whole staff of the show really did something that was Quite Frankly a very nice thing for a bunch of fanatic fans. As we walked down the stairs leaving the studio we all had nothing but smiles on our faces.
We didn’t have much more time in NYC, Jeff had to leave in a few hours to get back to Miami and Michael and I were flying back to Detroit at 6am. We enjoyed the city and each others company until our fantastic day was over and we went back to the old grind.
You see this was not my first run in with Rasheed, last year I was having dinner with friends on my birthday and we were sitting close to the door of the restaurant. I just happened to be facing the door and at the end of my dinner, in walked Rasheed with a couple of his friends. I tell everyone Sheed just walked in and I’m pretty much the only one that really cares. They tell me to go to the bar where he was to talk to him, but that’s just not me. I don’t need his autograph and I don’t want to bother him while he’s having a good time with his friends. I think public figures have it hard, even though they make more money than most of us, they never have privacy and that is something that I hold dear so I just left him alone. That was how I approached things when I went to the show, I didn’t push meeting him even though I probably could have. All I wanted to do is show him some appreciation for what he does for all Pistons fans, and that is put a smile on our faces day in and day out with his hard work and loud personality.
I have done what I always wanted to do when I started this site and that was to let Sheed know that he has loyal fans in Detroit and around the world that appreciate him and will do just about anything to let him know that.Need4Sheed.com. Thank You Rasheed, you were Sheedtastic!