It was announced today that Ben Wallace would be a part of the Class of 2021 for induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall-of-Fame. It has been a topic of debate for quite a while whether or not Wallace should be inducted into the Hall-of-Fame, but when you consider all of his career accolades, it shouldn’t have ever been a real debate.
Ben Wallace – Hall-of-Fame
Wallace is tied with Dikembe Mutombo for most Defensive Player of the Year Awards in NBA history, as both of them have four apiece.
His career numbers – 5.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks a game – aren’t exactly eye popping, but his impact with the Detroit Pistons was clearly felt.
For much of the 2000s, it was his ability to lockdown the paint that allowed the Pistons to be a powerhouse team in the Eastern Conference, as the Pistons were able to beat the Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal led Los Angeles Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals; the only team that holds the honor of beating that team in the Finals.
In the following years, the Pistons made it to the Finals again in 2005 but were ultimately defeated by the San Antonio Spurs in seven games.
When Ben Wallace moved on from Detroit to the Chicago Bulls in the summer of 2006, the Bulls went from eighth in the NBA in defensive rating to first in the league. Wallace brought that type of impact defensively.
But where Wallace made a name for himself was in Detroit, as he provided a countless amount of great blocked shots throughout his time there, including one on Shaq in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2006. O’Neal had the easy dunk attempt, but Wallace got his hands all on the ball and brought Shaq down right with him, as Shaq easily had a good at least 80 pounds on him.
Wallace terrorized opposing big men or anyone that tried to test him inside the paint. He was the epitome of a brick wall, as the Pistons could always feel safe with him serving as the last line of defense in many instances.
First Underdrafted Player in the Hall-of-Fame
The storyline should also help when presenting Wallace’s case, as he was the first undrafted player to ever make it into the Hall-of-Fame.
Seeing the type of impact he had out there on the floor as an undrafted player should serve as motivation for other undrafted or late second round picks trying to carve a niche in the NBA.
Even if his numbers aren’t amazing, you have to consider that pretty much no expectations were placed on him entering the league, and he made the absolute most out of them. It is not easy to win four Defensive Player of the Year Awards.
He was also a marketable star for his time, as his “Big Ben” nickname resonated with NBA fans all across the world, as he was ultimately able to turn that nickname into a sneaker. Happy to see “Big Ben” be inducted into the hall where he belongs.
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