Ben Camey Wallace
September 10, 1974 in White Hall, Alabama
Central (Hayneville, Alabama)
Cuyahoga Community College (1992–1994) & Virginia Union University (1994–1996)
1996 Undrafted, Signed by Washington Bullets (1996)
6-9 ; Weight:
- NBA (1996-2012)
G - 1,088
FG% - .474
3PFG% - .137
FT% - .414
Points - 6,254
PPG - 5.7
Rebounds - 10,482
RPG - 9.6
Assists - 1,437
APG - 1.3
Blocks - 2,137
BPG - 2.0
Steals - 1,369
SPG - 1.3
1 X NBA Champion
4 X NBA Defensive Player of the Year
3 X All-NBA Second Team
2 X All-NBA Third Team
4 X NBA Defensive Player of the Year
5 X All-NBA Defensive First Team
1 X All-NBA Defensive Second Team
4 X NBA All-Star
2 X NBA Rebound Champion
1 X NBA Blocks Champion
1996 First-Team All-CIAA
1996 NABC First Team All-American (Div. II)
Ben 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.
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 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. 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.
As an undrafted player, he was signed as a rookie free agent by the Washington Bullets on October 2, 1996. In 1999, Wallace was traded to the Orlando Magic along with Tim Legler, Terry Davis and Jeff McInnis for Ike
On August 3, 2000, he was traded along with Chucky Atkins to the Detroit Pistons for Grant Hill, in what was at the time considered a one-sided trade; Hill had planned to sign with Orlando as an unrestricted free agent, but the sign and trade deal allowed Hill to receive a slightly more lucrative contract while Detroit received at least some compensation for losing its marquee player. Since the trade, Wallace won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2001–02, 2002–03, 2004–05, and 2005–06 seasons, and was selected to six All-Defensive teams. In the 2001–02 and 2002–03 seasons, he led the league in both rebounds and blocked shots, the first to do so since Hakeem Olajuwon. In 2003, he was voted by fans to the first of his four NBA All-Star Game appearances as a center for the Eastern Conference.
Near the end of a November 2004 game against the Indiana Pacers, Wallace responded to a foul by Indiana's Ron Artest by shoving Artest, which eventually led to the Pacers–Pistons brawl, involving both players and spectators. 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. The game was a rematch of the heated Eastern Conference finals which the Detroit Pistons won on their way to the 2004 NBA Finals where they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 4-1 on the back of Wallace's effective and strong defense against a dominant Shaquille O'Neal.
The Pistons 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 Bulls and Cavaliers continued the gimmick during his respective tenures with Chicago and Cleveland).
On July 3, 2006, Wallace agreed to a four-year, $60 million deal with the Chicago Bulls. 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. During his 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.
On February 21, 2008, he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of a three-team deal that included the Seattle SuperSonics and the Chicago Bulls. The deal moved Wallace to the power forward position with Zydrunas Ilgauskas as the starting center. Following the trade, Wallace played in 22 regular season games (all starts). In 26.3 minutes, he averaged 4.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. In 72 total regular season games Wallace averaged 4.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.6 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. In the 2008 playoffs, Wallace played in 13 games (all starts) and averaged 3.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. He had his playoff high of 12 rebounds in Game 4 win against the Washington Wizards in the first round of the NBA playoffs. On November 25, 2008, Wallace grabbed his 9,000th career rebound and blocked his 1,900th career shot.
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. 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.
On August 7, 2009, Wallace agreed to re-sign with the Pistons as a free agent to a 1-year deal. He formerly wore #3 with the Pistons, but changed his jersey
to #6 upon his return, allowing Rodney Stuckey to keep that number. On July 11, 2010, Wallace agreed to a 2-year deal with the Pistons.
On August 4, 2010, Wallace was re-signed by the Pistons. 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 February 14, 2012, Wallace played his 1055th game, passing the record held by Avery Johnson for most games by an undrafted player. The same night, Wallace announced his plan to retire at the end of the 2011-12 season.
Wallace is 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). Even though his size is more suited for the power forward position, he has primarily played as a center. He became known for his prolific rebounding and shot blocking, 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. However, Wallace has never been a potent scorer, averaging just 5.7 points per game in his career. The majority of his points have come 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). This has often led to teams fouling him in the fourth quarter, much like the Hack-a-Shaq defense.