Portland Trail Blazers: Rasheed Wallace says NBA tried to ban his “3-to-the-dome” celebration

Rasheed Wallace, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Rasheed Wallace, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) /

Rasheed Wallace and his “three-to-the-dome” celebration have become fan favorites across the NBA. On KFTV, the former Portland Trail Blazers star explained the time the NBA tried to ban it.

There’s a longstanding belief that if former Portland Trail Blazer great Rasheed Wallace had played in a different generation, his trophy case likely features far more hardware.

Speaking optimistically, it’s a testament to how great a player he was, being able to appear on four All-Star ballots and two Most Valuable Player award voting sheets, with his prime coinciding with so many all-time great power forwards. But where he lacked in accolades, he certainly made up for in entertainment value and bravado, and memories.

In between his penchant for picking up technical fouls at unforeseen rates and walking to the beat of his own drum, Wallace provided us with one of the more iconic after-shot celebrations — the “three-to-the-dome.” But that celebration almost didn’t survive the test of time.

The quarantine has given us a chance to understand our favorite athletes more personally. On KFTV, an underrated New York Knicks-based podcast show, Rasheed Wallace gave us an in-depth look into the origin of that celebration, and on how the NBA actually wanted to ban it during his time in Boston.

"“When I was in Boston in 2010, every time I made a three, I would hold the three up, and kind of sort of the Kirk Gibson. So when I was up there, I was like ‘You know, I just gotta try to do something funny that everybody likes, so I came up with three to the dome.Then, the few minutes that I did get in some of the games and made a shot, the NBA hit me like, ‘Yo, you gotta stop doing that.’ They thought it was, one, a gang sign, and two, they thought I was trying to represent, ‘I’m gonna shoot you in the head.”"

Wallace said he had to explain to the NBA that it was simply the celebration of a successful shot, and they no longer badgered him about it.

It comes as no surprise, given the rocky relationship between Wallace and then-NBA commissioner David Stern over the years. By the time he finally hung up his Air Force Ones for the final time, he’d been fined $285,000, with 22 different instances.

After a two-year hiatus from the NBA, Wallace returned for a brief-but-productive 21-game cameo with the Knicks, where at age 38, he put in an impressive 7.0 points per game in just 14.1 minutes of time off the bench. There, he mentored future Portland Trail Blazer player and then-superstar Carmelo Anthony, who adopted the “three-to-the-dome” celebration, and kept it circulating  after Wallace’s second retirement from the game.


To this day, Anthony continues the tradition, one that many of the younger Portland Trail Blazers players view as one of the great non-verbal trash talk acts in pro basketball.

Since that 2012-13 season, the three-to-the-dome has become known, even in non-hardcore basketball circles. Anthony’s rained in 903 3-pointers since that time frame. And in their compilation of the NBA’s best signature celebrations, ESPN recognized it among the top ones.

Over the rest of the podcast, which certainly deserves a listen, Wallace discussed the four toughest players in the NBA for him to guard, the times he practiced in Timberland boots — which, if you know anything about Timberland boots, you know how unwise a decision this is for many — among other topics.

Next. Did the hiatus save the Portland Trail Blazers dismal season?. dark

Because of the connection between memorable Knicks who’ve transitioned to the Blazers and vice versa, it’s another basketball fix worth considering as we await the decision regarding the NBA’s reopening.