Ben Wallace presents Draymond Green with 2016-17 Kia Defensive Player of the Year trophy

NBA.com Staff

Prior to tipping off the 2017 NBA preseason, Warriors forward Draymond Green was still due some hardware from last year’s championship campaign. He received it from one of the ultimate examples of interior defense in league history.

Ben Wallace, who won the NBA Kia Defensive Player of the Year award four times (tied with Dikembe Mutombo for most all-time), presented Green with the 2016-17 edition of that same honor.

The Wallace-Green connection stems back to the latter’s childhood, when a nine-year-old Green was taken under Wallace’s wing. During Saturday’s preseason opener, the former Pistons star told NBC Sports Bay Area that Green’s willingness to apply his elder’s advice began a bond that continued to this day.

“I met Draymond when he was about nine years old. We talked about basketball,” Wallace said. “It just making me feel good just knowing that he actually listened and he applied everything I talked about to basketball. It’s good to see him out there having a lot of success.”