Rasheed Wallace is a four-time All-Star, an NBA Champion, and one of the best stretch bigs the game has ever seen. But, arguably, the thing he is known the most for is his virtually unbreakable record.
Everyone who knows Wallace is familiar with his infamous temper. Some would argue that he was the Draymond Green of his time in that he approached the game with a fire that sometimes got him into some on-court trouble.
When we say on-court trouble, we are referring to technical fouls/suspensions. And brother, did Wallace rack up a ton of the former. In fact, Wallace ranks third all-time in technical fouls (317), trailing behind only Charles Barkley (329) and Karl Malone (332).
That brings us to the unbreakable record. In 2000-01, as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers, Wallace accumulated 41 technical fouls in 80 games. To date, there has never been a player who has garnered more technical fouls in a single regular season than him.
Why The Record Is Unbreakable
So, why will this record never be broken? The NBA still has plenty of emotional players. Wouldn’t someone down the road eventually top that 41 mark?
Ironically enough, Wallace’s record-breaking season forced the league to make sure that his record could never be bested. Shortly after that season, in 2006, the NBA implemented checkpoints where players would receive an automatic one-game suspension (without pay) when they reach a certain number of technical fouls.
The first one of those checkpoints comes at the 16 technical foul marks. So, that means that no automatic suspension will be issued for the first 15 technical fouls.
After that, each two additional technical fouls triggers a one-game suspension. So, after their 18th technical foul, a player gets suspended. Then, they get suspended for another game without pay after their 20th. And so on, and so on.
This rule has created a strong reason for players and teams to want to avoid technical fouls. To break Wallace’s record under the current rules, a player would need to be ready to get suspended without pay for 14 games. Nobody likes getting part of their paycheck taken from them. And in the case of guys like Wallace, you don’t want to risk losing a great player for a big game because they are suspended for having too many technical fouls.
Anyway, Wallace can rest easy knowing that unless the NBA lifts their automatic suspension rule, no one is going to break his single-season technical foul record.