Ben Wallace scored 5.7 points per possession more than I did. In addition, I’m a superior foul shooter. So why is the former Detroit Pistons center/power forward traveling to Springfield, Massachusetts this weekend to hear his name announced when the NBA’s 2021 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class is honored? There’s a lot more to being great than scoring points and having a strong shooting touch.
In the NBA, Ben Wallace has earned all he has.
In front of Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce (#34) and Detroit Pistons small forward Damien Wilkins (#9), Detroit Pistons center Ben Wallace (#6) grabs an offensive rebound. | Getty Images/By Barry Chin/The Boston Globe
Wallace was given nothing but a chance. After graduating from Virginia Union, a Division II institution, the Washington Bullets offered the big man a chance. Wallace, a 6-foot-9 middle linebacker who went undrafted, was given a chance by Washington. In the 1996-97 season, he appeared in 34 games and averaged 5.8 minutes per game.
He was moved to the Orlando Magic after three seasons in Washington, where he established himself as an NBA starter. The Magic traded him to the Pistons after a year in Orlando, where he established a name for himself. He started all 80 games he played in his debut season with Detroit, averaging 13.2 rebounds and 6.4 points per game.
During the 2002-03 season, he earned his first of four consecutive NBA All-Star Game selections, leading the league in rebounds with 15.4 per game. That followed a season in which he led the league in both rebounding (14.0) and blocked shots (4.0). (3.5). That season, he was not an all-star.
Wallace played with the Pistons for nine seasons in two different stints. In Detroit, he averaged 11.1 rebounds and 6.6 points per game. He also played for the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA. Wallace has a career average of 5.7 points and 9.6 rebounds. He made 41% of his free throw attempts.
During the Detroit Pistons’ championship run, Ben Wallace performed all the dirty labor.
Wallace was tall, but not particularly so by NBA standards. He was often paired up against the league’s big guys, notably Shaquille O’Neal, who was 7-foot-1 and 325 pounds. Larry Brown, the former Pistons coach, always wanted to double O’Neal, but Wallace wanted the position for himself.
In 2016, former teammate Richard Hamilton told the Detroit Free Press, “The thing I remember most about Ben is when we played in the (2004) Finals.” “L.B. wanted to double-team Shaq, but Ben replied, ‘No, I’ll defend him from the front.’
“Most men would say, ‘Hey, assist me down here so I don’t get into any trouble.’ ‘No, L.B., I got him,’ Ben said. Please don’t come to assist. I’ll take him up front.’ Nobody says something like that.”
In the 2004 NBA Finals, the Pistons beat O’Neal and the Lakers. While Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, and Rasheed Wallace received the spotlight, it was Wallace who led the team to victory.
Hamilton remarked, “Ben added a dimension to the game that a lot of players don’t want to do.” “He was a man who performed all the dirty work – defending, blocking shots, rebounding….” Many players get caught up in the score, but Ben understood exactly what he was doing. He was the finest in the league at it.”
Is Wallace deserving of induction into the NBA Hall of Fame?
Wallace would not be considered for enshrinement if the NBA Hall of Fame was only based on statistics. Basketball excellence, on the other hand, is about more than just statistics. The 2004 Detroit Pistons lacked a genuine top-10 talent on their roster. To win a championship nowadays, a team must have at least two players.
While Wallace isn’t the ideal Hall of Fame candidate, his former agent Arn Tellem aptly summed up his client.
Tellem told the Free Press, “Ben had a tremendous impact on our institution.” “He is the epitome of a fighter. They speak about the Bad Boys, but I believe Ben and Chauncey were the heart and spirit of the squad. They advanced to the Eastern Conference finals six times in a row. On that squad, there were no top-five franchise players. They really competed so hard and worked together so beautifully.
“That attitude of sacrifice and doing whatever it takes to succeed was personified by Ben. When I speak to other players, they all admire him since it wasn’t about the numbers. It was all about winning, as well as playing hard and competitively. If you go back over the past 35 years of NBA history, that squad stands out as the most distinctive championship team of any NBA club.”
Tellem’s assessment is accurate, but it also strengthens Wallace’s argument for not being in the Hall of Fame. There were no stars on the Pistons, because stars belong in the Hall of Fame. It’s an exclusive group of people. Shouldn’t Billups be in as well if Wallace is? They were two great players, but not quite Hall of Fame-worthy.
Wallace was a good player, but not one of the best. His dedication was rewarded with a title.
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Ben Wallace is one of the greatest players to ever play basketball. He was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2021. Reference: ben wallace hall of fame 2021.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Ben Wallace in the Hall of Fame?
Ben Wallace was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.
What NBA team did Ben Wallace?
Ben Wallace was a professional basketball player for the Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, and Washington Wizards.
Is Chris Webber in the Hall of Fame?