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Ben Wallace

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Ben Wallace

Ben Wallace
Wallace with the Cleveland Cavaliers in April 2008
Personal information
Born (1974-09-10) September 10, 1974
White Hall, Alabama
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
Listed weight 240 lb (109 kg)
Career information
High school Central (Hayneville, Alabama)
College Cuyahoga CC (1992–1994)
Virginia Union (1994–1996)
NBA draft 1996 / Undrafted
Pro career 1996–2012
Position Center
Number 30, 4, 3, 6
Career history
19961999 Washington Bullets / Wizards
1999–2000 Orlando Magic
20002006 Detroit Pistons
20062008 Chicago Bulls
20082009 Cleveland Cavaliers
20092012 Detroit Pistons
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points 6,254 (5.7 ppg)
Rebounds 10,482 (9.6 rpg)
Blocks 2,137 (2.0 bpg)
Stats at

Ben Camey Wallace (born September 10, 1974) is an American retired professional basketball player. A native of Alabama, Wallace attended Cuyahoga Community College and Virginia Union University and signed with the Washington Bullets (later Wizards) as an undrafted free agent in 1996. In his NBA career, Wallace played with the Washington Bullets/Wizards, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers.

He won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award four times, a record he shares with Dikembe Mutombo. In nine seasons with the Pistons (2000–2006; 2009–2011), Wallace made two NBA Finals appearances (2004 and 2005) and won a championship with the Pistons in 2004.


  • Early life and education 1
  • College career 2
  • NBA career 3
    • Early career 3.1
      • Washington Bullets/Wizards 3.1.1
      • Orlando Magic 3.1.2
    • Detroit Pistons: 2000–06 3.2
      • Rise to Defensive Dominance: 2000–03 3.2.1
      • NBA Champion (2004) and Return to the Finals (2005) 3.2.2
      • Final Season in Detroit: 2005-2006 3.2.3
    • Chicago Bulls 3.3
    • Cleveland Cavaliers 3.4
    • Return to Pistons 3.5
  • Player profile 4
  • Personal life 5
  • Honors and Records 6
    • Awards and Honors 6.1
    • NBA records, achievements and milestones 6.2
    • Detroit Pistons franchise records 6.3
  • NBA career statistics 7
    • Regular season 7.1
    • Playoffs 7.2
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Early life and education

Wallace was born in White Hall, Alabama, a small town in Lowndes County, and is the tenth of eleven children. He later attended Central High School in Hayneville where he received all-state honors in basketball, baseball, and football (as a linebacker). Former basketball player Charles Oakley is Wallace's mentor, having discovered Wallace at a 1991 basketball camp, and later recommended Wallace to his previous college, Virginia Union.

College career

Wallace first played college basketball on the junior college level at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland for two years. There, staples of Wallace's defensive prowess were shown as he averaged 17.0 rebounds and 6.9 blocks per game. He then transferred to Virginia Union, a NCAA Division II school, where he studied criminal justice. Wallace averaged 13.4 points per game and 10.0 rebounds per game as a member of the Virginia Union Panthers, whom he led to the Division II Final Four and a 28–3 record.[1] As a senior, Wallace was named to the First-Team All CIAA and was selected as a First Team All-American (Div. II) by the NABC. Wallace was a letterman in football, baseball, basketball and track. He won All-State honors in all but track. After his graduation and going undrafted, Ben Wallace travelled to Italy for a tryout with the Italian team Viola Reggio Calabria.

NBA career

Early career

Washington Bullets/Wizards

Wallace only appeared in 34 games for Washington in the 1996–97 season and did not play many minutes. The following year he appeared in 67 games and started in 16, but did not average many points (3.1) or rebounds (4.8). He did manage to average 1.1 blocks throughout the season however, and his defensive play solidified his identity and his minutes increased significantly in the lockout shortened 1998–99 season, as he started in 16 of 46 games and averaged 6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. Washington was unable to make the playoffs for three straight years.

Orlando Magic

On August 11, 1999, Wallace was traded to the Orlando Magic in a multiplayer deal for Isaac Austin. In the 1999–2000 season, he solidified his role as a starter, starting in all 81 games that he appeared in. He averaged 4.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks for the Magic as they won 41 games. However the Magic failed to make the Playoffs and following the season, the Magic traded Wallace along with Chucky Atkins to the Detroit Pistons as compensation in a sign and trade deal for superstar forward and free agent Grant Hill.

Detroit Pistons: 2000–06

Rise to Defensive Dominance: 2000–03

The trade for Hill was considered a one-sided trade, but in the 2000–01 season, Wallace had his most productive season yet, averaging 6.4 points a game while placing second in rebounds with 13.2 a game and tenth in blocks per game with 2.3, but the Pistons could not make the Playoffs. The 2001–02 season would be even better for Wallace, as he averaged his most points per game for a season yet at 7.6 points a game, while leading the league in rebounding with 13 a game and shot blocking with 3.5 a game. His strong defensive play earned him the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, while also being named to the All-Defensive First Team and the All-NBA Third Team. The Pistons won 50 games and the Central Division, and would defeat the Antonio Davis-led Toronto Raptors in the first round of the Playoffs before falling to the Paul Pierce-led Boston Celtics in the conference semifinals. Wallace opened the playoffs with a 19-point and 20 rebound effort against Toronto, and he managed to grab 20 or more rebounds two more times in 10 total playoff games, his first experience in the post season.

The 2002–03 season would result in another Defensive Player of the Year Award for Wallace, as well as another selection to the All-Defensive team along with being named to the All-NBA Second Team, as he increased his rebounding to 15.4 a game. The Pistons won 50 games and the Central Division again, and defeated Orlando in a grueling 7 game first round series that included coming back from a 3-1 deficit. Detroit would go on to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers in 6 games, but could not defeat the defending Eastern Conference Champion New Jersey Nets in the Conference Finals. Wallace increased his rebounding to 16.3 rebounds a game in the Playoffs, and reached 20 or more rebounds 4 times.

NBA Champion (2004) and Return to the Finals (2005)

The 2003–04 season saw Ben Wallace continue to rank among the league leaders in rebounding (12.4 a game) and blocks (3.2 a game). Despite losing out on a third straight Defensive Player of the Year Award to Ron Artest, Wallace increased his scoring average to 9.5 points a game, and was named again to the All-Defensive First Team and the All-NBA Second Team. The season also featured new head coach Larry Brown, and he would lead the Pistons to 54 wins for the season, which included a late season acquisition of star power forward Rasheed Wallace to further improve the team's defense and scoring. In the Playoffs, the Pistons handily defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in five games in the first round, before facing New Jersey for the second straight year. Despite taking a 2-game lead to open the series, the Nets would win 3 straight games, and the Pistons responded with a road win in New Jersey (in which Wallace grabbed 20 rebounds) before wrapping up the series in game 7. The Pistons would then face the Ron Artest and Reggie Miller-led, league-leading Indiana Pacers, and the two teams traded wins in the first four games. Detroit's defense and resilience would prove too much for the Pacers, and the Pistons won the series in 6 games to advance to the Finals with Wallace scoring 12 points and grabbing 16 rebounds in the closing game of the series.

Detroit had not reached the Finals since 1990. The Pistons dominated in game 1 with a 12-point win in Los Angeles against the Lakers. The Lakers would respond in game 2 with late game heroics by team leaders Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal before the series moved to Detroit, but the combined defensive effort and near perfect offensive execution at home brought the Pistons a 20-point win in game 3. The Lakers were unable to respond in game 4, as the Pistons held their own and continued to dominate on defense and rebounding. Los Angeles needed one win to return the series to their home court, but the Pistons proved to be far too dominating again in game 5, as Detroit won the game by 13 points to win the NBA Championship led by Wallace who posted his best game of the series with 18 points and 22 rebounds. It would be the third NBA Title for the franchise and its first since 1990. Wallace held his own against the likes of Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal and then Shaquille O'Neal in the Finals, posting averages of 10.3 points a game with 14.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks.

The Pistons also began a tradition of sounding a deep chime whenever "Big Ben" scored or recorded a block on Detroit's home court, The Palace of Auburn Hills – an allusion to the original Big Ben in London.

The defending champions looked forward to defending their title in the 2004–05 season, but the season would take a sudden turn near the end of a November game against the Indiana Pacers, in which Wallace and Ron Artest sparred with each other before the infamous Pacers–Pistons brawl involving both players and spectators took place. Wallace was suspended for six games, and his brother David Wallace, received a year of probation and community service for punching Indiana players in the stands.[2] Wallace continued to dominate on defense (2.4 blocks a game) and rebounding (12.2 a game), and increased his scoring production on his way to winning another Defensive Player of the Year Award along with yet another selection to the All-Defensive First Team and the All-NBA Third Team. In the Playoffs, the Pistons dominated the Philadelphia 76ers before defeating their rival Pacers in the semifinals in 6 games. The Conference Finals would feature a matchup with the resurgent Miami Heat, who had acquired Shaquille O'Neal from the Lakers, and were led in scoring by Dwyane Wade. The teams traded victories before Miami won game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead, but the Pistons responded and took advantage of an injury to Wade in game 6 before winning a difficult game 7 on the road in Miami to advance to their second straight Finals. Wallace once again held his own against O'Neal throughout the series.

This time in the Finals, Detroit would face the San Antonio Spurs, led by superstar Tim Duncan and international players such as Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. The Spurs won the first two games at home before the Pistons matched them with two wins in Detroit, setting up a crucial game 5 in which San Antonio managed a one-point victory. Detroit would respond with a win on the road in game 6, but had no answer for Duncan and the Spurs attack and lost the series in game 7. Wallace averaged 10 points and 11.3 rebounds throughout the 2005 playoffs.

Final Season in Detroit: 2005-2006

Despite the disappointing Finals loss, the Pistons returned with a vengeance in the 2005–06 season, with Wallace winning another consecutive Defensive Player of the Year Award, a 5th straight selection to the All-Defensive First Team and another selection to the All-NBA Third Team. He was named an All-Star for the fourth straight season, and led the league in total offensive rebounds with 301. Detroit was dominant throughout the season, winning 64 games and earning the top seed in the conference. The Playoffs featured a dominating win over Milwaukee in the first round followed by a grueling 7 game series win against the young Cleveland Cavaliers led by all-star forward LeBron James. This set up a conference finals rematch with Miami, who had retooled their roster in the off-season. The Pistons struggled throughout the series with the impressive play of Dwyane Wade, who dominated offensively on the way to a 4-2 victory. Miami would go on to win that year's NBA Title. Wallace's production fell significantly as compared to previous seasons in the playoffs, as he only averaged 4.7 points a game, 10.5 rebounds and just 1.2 blocks. In the off-season, he would test free agency and eventually signed with the younger Chicago Bulls, thereby ending an era of Detroit Pistons basketball which had relied on him as a defensive and rebounding anchor.

Chicago Bulls

Wallace during his tenure with the Bulls

Wallace agreed to a four-year, $60 million deal with the Chicago Bulls.[3] Chicago Bulls coach Scott Skiles had a strict "no-headband" policy, but decided to make an exception for Wallace when his teammates voted in favor of allowing him to keep the signature headband.[4] Wallace continued to be relied upon as a defensive stopper and rebounder, as the Bulls already featured scoring from Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon and Luol Deng. While his overall averages decreased from previous years, he still managed to average double figure rebounds (10.7 a game) and posted 2 blocks a game for the season. The Bulls won 49 games, and entered the Playoffs with a first round matchup against the defending champion Miami Heat. The series would mark the fourth straight year that Wallace faced off with Shaquille O'Neal in the playoffs, and while the Heat were more experienced they also had played an inconsistent regular season with Dwyane Wade missing games due to injury. The Bulls on the other hand were ready to take on the older Heat, and shocked Miami with a 4-game sweep with an average win margin of 11 points. Wallace posted 13 points with 11 rebounds in the close out game in Miami, and the Bulls advanced to face his former Pistons team. Despite no longer featuring Wallace and being older, the Pistons dominated the first three games to take a 3-0 lead before Chicago responded at home in game 4 with Wallace scoring 11 points with 17 rebounds. Chicago also went on to win Game 5 in Detroit, but could not extend the series to a 7th game as the Pistons proved too experienced for the younger team. Wallace averaged 8.7 points with 9.5 rebounds in 10 playoff games.

The Bulls looked to improve in the 2007–08 season, but started out with a disappointing 9-16 start before Skiles was removed as head coach. After 50 games, Wallace was dealt in a three team trade which landed him on the Cleveland Cavaliers. During his nearly two-year run in Chicago, Wallace battled with various knee injuries and averaged 5.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 2.0 blocks per game.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers already featured Zydrunas Ilgauskas as the team's starting center, so coach Mike Brown moved Wallace to the power forward position. Wallace played in 22 regular season games (all starts) and averaged 4.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. Wallace had a Cavalier regular season high of 12 points on February 24, 2008 against the Memphis Grizzlies, and had regular season Cavalier highs of 15 rebounds against the Charlotte Bobcats and four blocks against the Orlando Magic.[5] In the playoffs, Wallace played in 13 games (all starts) and averaged 3.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game.[6] He had his playoff high of 12 rebounds in Game 4 win against the Washington Wizards in the first round of the Playoffs as the Cavaliers swept the Wizards. The following series would be against the resurgent Boston Celtics. The series would go to 7 games, with the Celtics winning the final game at home and Wallace failing to register double figure rebounds in the series.[5]

On June 25, 2009, Wallace was traded to the Phoenix Suns with Sasha Pavlović, a second round draft pick and $500k for Shaquille O'Neal.[7] On July 13, 2009, the Suns bought out Wallace's $14 million contract, saving $8 million in the process. Wallace actually received $10 million but Phoenix was in luxury tax so the savings were effectively doubled.

Return to Pistons

On August 7, 2009, Wallace agreed to re-sign with the Pistons as a free agent to a one-year deal. He formerly wore jersey number 3 with the Pistons, but changed his jersey to No. 6 upon his return, allowing Rodney Stuckey to keep that number. On July 11, 2010, Wallace agreed to a two-year deal with the Pistons.[8]

On August 4, 2010, Wallace was re-signed by the Pistons.[9] On November 30, 2010, in a 90–79 road loss to the Orlando Magic, Wallace surpassed the 10,000 rebound mark for his career, becoming the 34th player in NBA history to achieve that mark.

On December 22, 2010, in a 115–93 road win over the Toronto Raptors, Wallace played his 1,000th game becoming the 95th player in NBA history to achieve this record. On February 14, 2012, Wallace played his 1,055th game, passing the record held by Avery Johnson for most games by an undrafted player.[10]

It was announced on October 29 2015 that the Pistons will retire Ben Wallace's #3 during a game sometime in the 2015-2016 NBA Season

Player profile

Wallace was listed at 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m), though he has admitted that he is closer to 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m).[11] Even though his size was more suited for the power forward position, he primarily played as a center.[12] He became known for his prolific rebounding and shot blocking,[12] and was voted the NBA Defensive Player of the Year four times. He is one of only five players to collect more blocks than personal fouls (minimum 150 games) and the only player among those to also have more steals than turnovers.[13] However, Wallace was never a potent scorer, averaging 5.7 points per game in his career. The majority of his points came from offensive put-backs, baskets in transition, or other high-percentage field goals. Wallace also holds the record for worst free throw shooting percentage in NBA history, at under 42 percent (minimum 1,000 free-throw attempts).[14] This often led to teams fouling him in the fourth quarter, much like the Hack-a-Shaq defense.[15]

Personal life

Wallace is married to Chanda and is the father of two sons, Ben Jr. and Bryce, and one daughter, Bailey.[16]

Wallace appeared on the cover of ESPN NBA 2K5. An inflatable basketball training aid of Wallace's likeness, called the Inflatable Defender, was manufactured by PlayAir Systems. His sneaker, the Big Ben, was released November 5, 2007 under Stephon Marbury's Starbury label and sold for $14.98 at Steve & Barry's stores.[17]

In 2011, Wallace was arrested and charged with DWI and carrying a concealed weapon.[18] He was sentenced to a year of probation.[19]

Wallace noted to Arda Ocal of The Score Television Network that he is a fan of professional wrestling, citing some of his favourite wrestlers as André the Giant, Big John Studd, Hulk Hogan and John Cena.[20]

In March 2014, Wallace was sentenced to a year of jail, with all but two days suspended, after he pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident in Richmond, Virginia on February 8, 2014.[21]

Honors and Records

Wallace is honored with the Pistons at the White House for the team's victory in the 2004 NBA Finals.

Awards and Honors

  • NBA champion: 2004
  • NBA All-Star: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
  • NBA Defensive Player of the Year: 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006
  • 6× All-NBA Defensive Team:
    • First Team: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
    • Second Team: 2007
  • 5× All-NBA:
    • Second Team: 2003, 2004, 2006
    • Third Team: 2002, 2005
  • 2× NBA regular-season leader, rebounds per game: 2002 (13.0), 2003 (15.4)
  • NBA regular-season leader, blocks per game: 2002 (3.5)
  • 2× NBA regular-season leader, total rebounds: 2001 (1052), 2003 (1026)
  • NBA regular-season leader, total defensive rebounds: 2001 (749)
  • 2× NBA regular-season leader, total offensive rebounds: 2003 (293), 2006 (301)
  • NBA regular-season leader, total blocks: 2002 (278)
  • Cover player for NBA 2K5

NBA records, achievements and milestones

Detroit Pistons franchise records

  • Most blocked shots, all-time: 1,486 (2000–2006, 2009–2012)
  • Most blocked shots in
  • Highest blocks-per-game average, all-time: 2.3 (2000–2006, 2009–2012)
  • Highest blocks-per-game average, one season: 3.48 (2001–02)
  • Most steals, one game, playoffs: 7 (Game 4, 2003 Eastern Conference First Round)

NBA career statistics

Regular season

1996–97 Washington 34 0 5.8 .348 .000 .300 1.7 .1 .2 .3 1.1
1997–98 Washington 67 16 16.8 .518 .000 .357 4.8 .3 .9 1.1 3.1
1998–99 Washington 46 16 26.8 .578 .000 .356 8.3 .4 1.1 2.0 6.0
1999–2000 Orlando 81 81 24.2 .503 .000 .474 8.2 .8 .9 1.6 4.8
2000–01 Detroit 80 79 34.5 .490 .250 .336 13.2 1.5 1.3 2.3 6.4
2001–02 Detroit 80 80 36.5 .531 .000 .423 13.0 1.4 1.7 3.5 7.6
2002–03 Detroit 73 73 39.4 .481 .167 .450 15.4 1.6 1.4 3.2 6.9
2003–04 Detroit 81 81 37.7 .421 .125 .490 12.4 1.7 1.8 3.0 9.5
2004–05 Detroit 74 74 36.1 .453 .111 .428 12.2 1.7 1.4 2.4 9.7
2005–06 Detroit 82 82 35.2 .510 .000 .416 11.3 1.9 1.8 2.2 7.3
2006–07 Chicago 77 77 35.0 .453 .200 .408 10.7 2.4 1.4 2.0 6.4
2007–08 Chicago 50 50 32.5 .373 .000 .424 8.8 1.8 1.4 1.6 5.1
2007–08 Cleveland 22 22 26.3 .457 .000 .432 7.4 .6 .9 1.7 4.2
2008–09 Cleveland 56 53 23.5 .445 .000 .422 6.5 .8 .9 1.3 2.9
2009–10 Detroit 69 67 28.6 .541 .000 .406 8.7 1.5 1.2 1.2 5.5
2010–11 Detroit 54 49 22.9 .450 .500 .333 6.5 1.3 1.0 1.0 2.9
2011–12 Detroit 62 11 15.8 .395 .250 .340 4.3 .7 .8 .8 1.4
Career 1088 912 29.5 .474 .137 .414 9.6 1.3 1.3 2.0 5.7
All-Star 4 2 21.5 .400 .000 .000 7.0 .5 2.0 1.2 3.0


2002 Detroit 10 10 40.8 .475 .000 .436 16.1 1.2 1.9 2.6 7.3
2003 Detroit 17 17 42.5 .486 .000 .446 16.3 1.6 2.5 3.1 8.9
2004 Detroit 23 23 40.2 .454 .000 .427 14.3 1.9 1.9 2.4 10.3
2005 Detroit 25 25 39.2 .481 .000 .461 11.3 1.0 1.7 2.4 10.0
2006 Detroit 18 18 35.7 .465 .000 .273 10.5 1.7 1.3 1.2 4.7
2007 Chicago 10 10 36.9 .566 .000 .500 9.5 1.4 1.5 1.7 8.7
2008 Cleveland 13 13 23.4 .515 .000 .350 6.5 1.2 .6 1.1 3.2
2009 Cleveland 14 0 12.6 .615 .000 .000 2.7 .3 .3 .3 1.1
Career 130 116 34.8 .482 .000 .418 11.2 1.3 1.5 1.9 7.2

See also


  1. ^ "Ben Wallace Bio". Retrieved February 20, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Palace brawl lives in infamy 1 year later". Associated Press. November 26, 2005. 
  3. ^ "Ben Wallace makes it official, signs with Bulls". July 13, 2006. Retrieved February 20, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Skiles makes an exception to headband rule for Big Ben". October 2, 2007. Retrieved February 20, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Ben Wallace 2007–2008 Game Logs". Retrieved February 20, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c "Ben Wallace Statistics". Retrieved February 20, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Suns Complete Trade With Cavs, Send Shaq to Cleveland". June 25, 2009. Archived from the original on June 28, 2009. Retrieved June 25, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Wallace to sign two-year deal with Pistons". Associated Press. July 11, 2010. Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Pistons Re-Sign Center Ben Wallace". August 4, 2010. Retrieved February 13, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Pistons' Ben Wallace sets NBA record for games played by undrafted player". February 14, 2012. Retrieved February 20, 2012. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b "Detroit's Ben Wallace wins NBA's top defensive award". May 8, 2006. Retrieved February 20, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Players with more Blocks than Personal Fouls". Retrieved December 23, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Ben Wallace NBA & ABA Statistics". Retrieved February 20, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Blogger: Aanmelden". Retrieved February 20, 2012. 
  16. ^ " Ben Wallace Bio Page". Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  17. ^ Gregory, Sean (November 2, 2007). "Sneaker Cents". Time. Retrieved April 26, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Ben Wallace faces two charges". Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Ben Wallace sentenced to probation". December 13, 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Ben Wallace talks to Arda Ocal about Pro Wrestling". Archived from the original on March 1, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Former VUU, NBA star Ben Wallace guilty of leaving Henrico crash". Retrieved March 18, 2014. 
  22. ^ Hakeem Olajuwon Statistics –
  23. ^ David Robinson Statistics –

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from
  • Ben Wallace at
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