Despite being undrafted in the NBA, Ben Wallace still manages to become one of the best NBA players during in his time. Ben was an undersized center but when he plays, he had hustle and heart to overpower his opponents.
Wallace started his career being just a bench warmer for the Washington Bullets. Wallace appeared in 34 games in his rookie year. He didn't have much attention in the NBA until he was traded to the Orlando Magic during in the 1999 offseason.
In Orlando, he had his career breakout season. He became the starting center as he played 81 games during '99/00 season. After a year at Orlando, he was traded to the Detroit Pistons where he had the most success of his career.
The Birth of the Defensive Superstar
Ben Wallace developed in Detroit as on of the best defensive centers in the league. Despite not having a playoff appearance, Ben averaged 6.4 points a game while placing 2nd in rebounds with 13.2 per game and 10th in blocks with 2.3 in the first season with the Detroit Pistons.
In the following season, Ben had back to back Defensive Player of the year award. Ben named the DPOY during '01/02 and '02/03 NBA seasons. Many were amazed at Ben's performance. He was compared to Dennis Rodman as he also played with hustle, energy and heart despite being undersized.
NBA Champions 2004
Nobody expected that the Detroit Pistons will be a championship team in 2004. That Pistons team was led by Wallace's extraordinary defense and he also improved his scoring to 9 points in a game.
In the 2003–04 season we saw Ben Wallace continue to rank among the league leaders in rebounding (12.4 per game) and blocks (3.2 per game). Despite those numbers, Ben Wallace was voted as second in Defensive Player of the Year. He nearly won his 3rd straight DPOY award.
During 2004 NBA Finals, he had the most important challenge in his career, guarding the most dominant center in the league, Shaquille O'Neal.
Ben never failed on guarding Shaq. He proved the world that size is not key to dominate his opponents. The real key is that you should put your heart and soul together and you can be unstoppable.
He brought back Bad Boys’ attitude to the Detroit Pistons and they won NBA Championship (2004) after 14 years. The Pistons defeated Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Karl Malone and Gary Payton with 4-1 in the NBA Finals. That was one of the biggest surprises in the last 20 years in the NBA History.
The Detroit Pistons last NBA title was 1990 (The Bad Boys Era), when Joe Dumars, Isiah Thomas, James Edwards, Mark Aquirre, Bill Laimbeer and Dennis Rodman defeated Portland Trail Blazers 4-1.
Ben Wallace: Detroit Pistons in the Heart
In 2005 NBA season, Wallace continued to dominate on defense (2.4 blocks per game) and rebounding (12.2 per game), on his way to winning another Defensive Player of the Year Award, along with another selection to the All-Defensive First Team and the All-NBA Third Team.
The Detroit Pistons came up short on defending their championship in 2005, when they lost 3-4 against San Antonio Spurs with Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.
In 2005–06 season, Wallace won 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.
After his career with the Pistons, Wallace became a journeyman. He signed to a 4 year $60 million deal with Chicago Bulls. He played with the Bulls, Cavaliers and traded to the Suns but his contract got bought out in the Suns.
He returned to Detroit and ended his career there after playing 2 more seasons with them.
He was one of the best players in the Detroit Pistons in the last 20 years, alongside with Chauncey Billups, Rasheed Wallace, Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince.
The Detroit Pistons retired four-time Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace's No. 3 jersey on January 17, 2016.