Ben Wallace had a memorable career and will be inducted into the 2021 class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Although Wallace was never a big scorer he was always a great rebounder and shot blocker. The four time all star was a key piece on the Detroit Pistons’ championship roster in 2004.
While some people may wonder how a player who never averaged 10 points per game in a season but his impact was always there. Ben Wallace won the defensive player of the year award 4 times in his career which is tied for the most with Dikembe Mutombo. This is a very impressive feat that is hard to accomplish as many people forgot the force he was on that end.
Wallace’s success is a very underrated player as he was a defensive force even at his size. Ben Wallace was a 6’9 center which was considered small for the position especially during that era. He found a way to get rebounds, block shots, and always put his effort into every play.
His defensive effort stemmed from playing with his 7 older brothers. Wallace once said “I was always told, ‘You have to get loose balls and rebound or try to get a steal because we’re not going to pass the ball.” While he didn’t get a ton of shots growing up he definitely learned to be a beast on the defensive end.
Here are Ben Wallace’s best moments of his career.
Ben Wallace mountaintop moments:
5. Triple double with blocks
The NBA has now entered an era where triple doubles aren’t a big deal but back in this era it was not common. It was even more rare of a feat as he had 10 blocks a part of the triple double. This was a game back in the 2002 to the 2003 season against the Miami Heat as Wallace finished with 12 points, 19 rebounds, and 10 blocks. This is one of Wallace’s greatest feats and people should not forget his impact on the game.
4. Wallace’s playoff debut
Wallace had a big night on his playoff debut as he was presented with his first defensive player of the year award pregame. Later that night Wallace dominated the Toronto Raptors as he had 19 points, 20 rebounds, and 3 blocks. He showed out in his first playoff game and it proved his impact to the Pistons team.
3. Wallace’s jersey retirement
While it’s not a moment during his playing career, Wallace’s jersey retirement was a big moment. His number 3 was retired by the Pistons back in 2016. It was a big moment as he was honored to have his jersey put in the rafters along with other Pistons greats. Wallace got emotional during his speech and said “Where I came from and some of the trial and tribulations I went through, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Y’all motivated me on nights when I didn’t have anything left.”
Wallace was with his family during the ceremony and showed his appreciation.
2. Ben Wallace denies Shaquille O’Neal in the playoffs
Arguably Wallace’s greatest play on the court was when he blocked Shaq in a 2006 playoff match-up against the Miami Heat. He blocked Shaq without fouling and made him fall to the floor. That shows the dominance of his block and how great of a rim protector he was. Doing this is in the Eastern Conference Finals made this even more impressive. Even though Shaq is one of the greatest players of all time, he always had a difficult time when facing Ben Wallace. That shows how big an impact Wallace had on opposing players and teams; he struck fear into the opponent.
1. Winning an NBA championship in 2004
Not only did the Detroit Pistons beat the Los Angeles Lakers to win the championship but they did it in five games. Ben Wallace played elite defense on Shaq throughout the series; that was a decisive factor for his team. Being able to play one on one with him allowed the rest of the team to double team Kobe Bryant. The 2004 Lakers team was supposed to be a super team so the Pistons taking them down was a big statement.
Ben Wallace had a big Game 5 to close out the series. He finished with 18 points, 22 rebounds, 3 steals, and a block. He also held the Hall of Famer Shaq to seven made field goals. Shaq was in the middle of his prime at that time, but Wallace did a great job in defending him.
Although you may not think of Ben Wallace as a Hall of Famer his impact can’t be denied. He is one of the greatest defensive players of all time and gave effort every night out on the floor. He was a relentless player on the boards, enabling him to have an immensely successful career.
Ben Wallace will be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame and will forever be an icon for elite defensive players. One doesn’t have to be great on offense to reach the Hall of Fame. There are many paths to basketball immortality.