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November 14, 2008
by Ryan Hudson
Chauncey Billups spent his last six seasons with the Detroit Pistons, playing alongside Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince. During that time, the trio spent roughly nine months of the year together, including countless hours on the road, in the locker room and on the court. So it's not terribly surprising that when the Nuggets traded for Billups earlier this month, the boys in Detroit didn't take it so well. All that was missing was bathrobes and pints of ice cream.
Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton were crying. There they were, two NBA All-Stars, in Billups’ room in the Hilton City Center in Charlotte … crying. And laughing. And crying again.
The Pistons had just traded Billups to the Denver Nuggets for Allen Iverson. Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince had gotten word that morning, when Billups did not attend the team’s shootaround. They got back to the hotel and pounded on Billups’ door.
Billups was on the phone with his wife, Piper. He told her he’d call her back later. It turned out to be much later.
“It was the hardest two or three hours that I’ve had in a long, long time in my life,” Billups said. “We just couldn’t believe that it’s over. It’s over. That’s the thing that’s so tough about trades. No matter what happens, it’s over. So those two or three hours were crazy.”
“It was good,” Billups said in a wide-ranging interview Thursday, at the Nuggets’ team hotel in Cleveland. “It was deep. I will never forget my six years in Detroit, and I will never forget those three hours that I spent with my two brothers in that room.”
I guess basketball really is a brotherhood.