Ben Wallace (born September 10, 1974 in White
Hall, Alabama) is a professional basketball player
in the National Basketball Association|NBA who
plays center (basketball)|center (and sometimes
power forward (basketball)|power forward) for the
Detroit Pistons. He is listed at 6 ft 9 in (2.06
m) and 240 lbs (109 kg). As of 2005, he is
regarded as the premier defensive player in the
league. His nickname is "Big Ben."
Wallace has gained great notoriety in the Detroit,
Michigan|Detroit area and nationwide, and fans
often arrive at his games sporting wigs in honor
of his trademark Afro hairstyle. However, he now
only wears his Afro for some games; for most
games, he has his hair styled into cornrows.
Wallace played college basketball at Virginia
Union University|Virginia Union, a Division II
school. Wallace was not drafted to the National
Basketball Association|NBA, but was signed as a
rookie free agent by the Washington
Wizards|Washington Bullets on October 2, 1996.
In 1999 Wallace was traded to the Orlando Magic
alongside with Tim Legler, Terry Davis, and Jeff
McInnis for Isaac Austin and on August 3, 2000,
was traded again along with Chucky Atkins to the
Detroit Pistons for Grant Hill (basketball
player)|Grant Hill. Since then he has been a
defensive force, winning the NBA Defensive Player
of the Year Award in the 2001-2002|02,
2002-2003|03, and 2004-2005|05 seasons. In the
2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons, he led the league in
both rebounds and blocked shots. In 2003, he was
voted by fans to his first National Basketball
Association All-Star Game|NBA All-Star Game, as
the starting center for the Eastern Conference.
Wallace became the first undrafted player to ever
start in an All-Star game. He, along with
Chauncey Billups, captained the Pistons' 2004 NBA
Finals|NBA championship team.
He finished second in the league in rebounds and
blocks per game for the 2003-2004|04 season. His
career highs for one game are 28 rebounds and 10
blocks, although he has never scored more than 22
points in a regular-season game. (His playoff
career high is 29 points.) He also was a starter
for the 2004 All-Star Game.
Wallace again returned to the All-Star Game in
2005, his third in succession. This time, he was
selected as a reserve, as the popular Shaquille
O'Neal, now in the Eastern Conference, finished
ahead of Wallace in the fan balloting. During the
2004-05 season, Wallace also became Detroit's
franchise leader in block (basketball)|blocked
shots. He now has recorded 1,116 blocks for the
Pistons. Wallace has also become the Pistons' all
time blocked shots leader in the playoffs.
Wallace again won the NBA Defensive Player of the
Year Award in 2004-05, joining Dikembe Mutombo as
the only players to have won the award three
As of 2005, Wallace is considered the
quintessential defensive specialist. He features
an impressive physique - even measured against the
standards of his NBA peers - which allows him to
outmuscle most of his opposition. Wallace
constantly ranks among the best rebounders and
shot-blockers. His uncanny defensive timing allows
him to defend with great intensity without drawing
a personal foul|foul (lifetime average personal
fouls per game: 2,1
addition, he is seen also as one of the most
reliable contributors, rarely failing to deliver
in important games. All these features were
showcased especially in the 2004 NBA Finals, when
6'9", 240 lbs. Wallace contained 7'1", 325 lbs.
elite center Shaquille O'Neal.
His drawback is his offensive game. Although he
averaged almost 10 points per game in 2005, he is
not considered as allround as other defensive
stalwarts like Tim Duncan. As some big men like
Shaquille O'Neal or Wilt Chamberlain, Wallace is
also an atrocious free throw shooter. As of July
2005, his lifetime average is .420.Year Age Team G PPG FGP FTP 3PP RPG APG
1996-97 22 WAS 34 1.1 .348 .300 .000 1.7 0.1
1997-98 23 WAS 67 3.1 .518 .357 .000 4.8 0.3
1998-99 24 WAS 46 6.0 .578 .356 .000 8.3 0.4
1999-00 25 ORL 81 4.8 .503 .487 .000 8.0 0.8
2000-01 26 DET 80 6.4 .490 .336 .250 13.2 1.5
2001-02 27 DET 80 7.6 .531 .423 .000 13.0 1.4
2002-03 28 DET 73 6.9 .481 .450 .167 15.4 1.6
2003-04 29 DET 81 9.5 .421 .490 .125 12.4 1.7
2004-05 30 DET 74 9.7 .453 .428 .111 12.2 1.7
616 6.5 .479 .420 .133 10.6 1.2
As of 2005, Wallace has won the NBA Defensive
Player of the Year Award three times, a feat only
equalled by Dikembe Mutombo.
He was the first undrafted player to start in the
NBA All-Star Game.
Wallace is also one of only five players in
history (along with Julius Erving, Sam Lacey,
Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson (basketball
player)|David Robinson) to have recorded 100
blocks and 100 steals in five consecutive seasons.
On November 21, 2004, Wallace was suspended for
six games by Commissioner David Stern for his role
in The Malice at The Palace|a massive brawl at a
home game on November 19, 2004 that involved the
Pistons, the Indiana Pacers and Pistons
supporters. Wallace's retaliation to a hard foul
by the Pacers' Ron Artest had helped trigger the
chaos which resulted in an early end to the game.
On December 3, 2004, Wallace's suspension ended
when the Pistons faced the San Antonio Spurs.
ESPN announcers have said that Ben Wallace is able
to bench press 460 pounds (210 kg) and curl 200
pounds (90 kg) for several repetitions. The
Detroit Free Press has also added that he has only
3.8 percent body fat.