By Ashley Dunkak
AUBURN HILLS (CBS DETROIT) – A Detroit Piston once again, Chauncey Billups tried to be coy when answering what number he would wear in his first season back with the organization where he played the longest stint of his career and won an NBA championship.
“What number do you think?” Billups asked.
After some banter with a reporter, he announced he would be wearing his old No. 1 — much to the delight of Palace employees and Pistons executives attending the press conference. After the applause and cheering died down, Billups explained how he got his number back.
The NBA has a March deadline for jersey number changes, and popular Pistons forward Andre Drummond had been wearing number one before Billups returned.
“It was a little bit of a process,” Billups said, “but I remember as soon as I basically said I was coming back here, young Drummond had tweeted – even though I’m not on Twitter, I’m a little too old for Twitter – it was all on the publications and stuff like that, but he had tweeted that he would give me the number back. He was just happy that I was coming back.”
Billups said that while he appreciated the gesture on his behalf, he felt Drummond should have a different number regardless of whether Billups had returned to the organization.
“He should have another number anyway because he’s going to be a great player and one day he’s going to have his number retired, so he should create his own legacy, in my opinion,” Billups said, then smiled. “Maybe I’m biased because it’s number one.
“He was easy,” Billups continued. “He just basically kind of stepped back and said, ‘Whatever you want,’ and I’m grateful to have a young player like that.”