Detroit Pistons To Honor and Retire Jerseys For Ben Wallace And Chauncey Billups

Duo combined to help deliver 2004 NBA Championship, two Eastern Conference Championships and six consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference Finals
Andrew D. Bernstein (NBAE/Getty)

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the club will honor and retire jerseys for Ben Wallace and Chauncey Billups during the 2015-16 season. Wallace will be honored during a halftime ceremony on Saturday, January 16 at 7:30 p.m. when the Pistons host the Golden State Warriors at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Billups will be honored during a halftime ceremony on Wednesday, February 10 at 7:30 p.m. when Detroit squares off against the Denver Nuggets at The Palace.

“Our franchise has an extraordinary history and it’s important that we recognize the players who not only achieved great things, but also helped define what it means to be a Piston,” said Pistons Owner Tom Gores. “Chauncey Billups and Ben Wallace are legends in Detroit and we are excited to honor their success.”

Gores said Wallace and Billups both embodied the spirit and determination of the Detroit community.

“While we celebrate their individual accomplishments, it was their selflessness that helped make them so special,” said Gores. “They showed up every day willing to work and sacrifice for the good of the team. They put winning above all else and in the process inspired a generation of Pistons fans.”

Wallace, acquired by Detroit from the Orlando Magic in 2000, spent nine seasons with the Pistons collecting NBA Defensive Player of the Year honors four times (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006) and was named a NBA All-Star four times (2003-06). Wallace was an All-NBA Second Team selection three times (2003, 2004, 2006), All-NBA Third Team selection twice (2002 and 2005) and an NBA All-Defensive First Team selection five times (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006). During his first stint with Detroit (2000-06), the Pistons made the playoffs in five of the seven years, winning Eastern Conference Championships in 2004 and 2005 and the NBA Championship in 2004. Wallace is the franchise’s all-time leader in regular-season and playoff blocks (1,486 and 215, respectively) and ranks first among Pistons’ all-time playoff leaders in rebounds (1,237). He holds franchise single-game records for blocks in a game (10 – twice), defensive rebounds in a quarter (10) and blocks in a quarter (6). In 655 games with the Pistons, Wallace averaged 6.6 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, 1.4 steals and 1.5 assists in 32.6 minutes per game.

“We celebrated many great accomplishments during my years in Detroit and to be recognized for my contributions in this way, I’m honored,” said Wallace. “I look forward to sharing this experience with all the fans who supported me throughout my years as a Piston.”

Wallace, a 6’9, 240-pound center went undrafted in the 1996 NBA Draft and spent time with Washington, Orlando, Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland. Wallace recorded 10,482 rebounds during his career, becoming one of only 37 players and the only undrafted player (Moses Malone was drafted in the 1974 American Basketball Association Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers in the ABA Dispersal Draft in 1976) in NBA history to record 10,000 rebounds. He is also one of only 10 players in NBA history to record 10,000 rebounds and 2,000 blocks and is the shortest player at 6’9 to record 2,000 career blocks. Overall, in 1,088 career NBA games, Wallace averaged 5.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.3 steals and 1.3 assists in 29.5 minutes per game.

Acquired as a free agent in 2002, Billups’ eight-year career in Detroit was highlighted by back-to-back Eastern Conference Championships and two NBA Finals appearances in 2004 and 2005. He was named NBA Finals Most Valuable Player during the Pistons NBA Championship season in 2003-04 when he averaged 21.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists in five games vs. the Los Angeles Lakers. The Denver, CO native was named an NBA All-Star three times with Detroit, All-NBA Second Team (2006), All-NBA Third Team (2007) and All-NBA Defensive Second Team (2005, 2006). In 482 games with the Pistons, Billups averaged 16.5 points, 6.2 assists and 3.2 rebounds in 31.6 minutes per game.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by the Detroit Pistons organization in this manner,” said Billups. “This is a franchise with great history and tradition. To be recognized amongst the all-time great players in team history is special and I look forward to celebrating the achievements, memories and great times we shared together.”

Billups, a 6’3, 210-pound guard, nicknamed “Mr. Big Shot” for his knack of hitting big shots in close games during his playing days, was drafted with the third overall pick by the Boston Celtics in the 1997 NBA Draft. During his 17 seasons in the NBA, he spent time with Boston, Toronto, Denver, Minnesota, Detroit, New York and L.A. Clippers, and collected five All-Star appearances. He was also awarded the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2008, the NBA Sportsmanship Award in 2009 and the NBA Teammate of the Year Award in 2009. Overall, Billups played in 1,043 career NBA games and averaged 15.2 points, 5.4 assists, 2.9 rebounds, 1.0 steals in 31.6 minutes per game.

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