Defensive and Rebounding Stalwart Becomes First Undrafted Player to Be Enshrined
DETROIT, Mich.– Ben Wallace, the defensive anchor of the Detroit Pistons’ 2004 NBA Championship team, has been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2021. The announcement was made earlier today at a private event held in Springfield, MA, site of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Wallace becomes the first undrafted NBA player in the modern era to ever be elected to the hall of fame which will be enshrined at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA, on September 11, 2021.
Undrafted out of Virginia Union, Wallace went on to play 1,088 career NBA games over 16 seasons with Washington, Orlando, Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland. He was 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 an 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), an NBA All-Defensive First Team selection five times (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006), and an All-Defensive Second Team selection once (2007). During his first stint with Detroit (2000-06), the Pistons made the playoffs in five of 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.
Wallace, a native of White Hall, AL, recorded 10,482 rebounds during his career, becoming one of only 40 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 11 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, Wallace averaged 5.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.3 steals and 1.3 assists in 29.5 minutes per game. His No. 3 jersey was retired by the Pistons in 2016.
For more information on the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, visit www.hoophall.com.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Detroit Pistons Owner Tom Gores
“Congratulations to Pistons legend Ben Wallace! His election to the Hall of Fame rightly recognizes his place among the best to ever play the game of basketball. By always putting his teammates and winning above all else, Ben has contributed so much to the sport and to the rich tradition of our franchise. He is an icon who inspired generations of basketball players and fans with his effort and tenacity. His tireless work ethic, grit and determination helped define Pistons basketball and will continue to set the standard for years to come.”
Detroit Pistons Vice Chairman Arn Tellem
“I had the pleasure of representing Ben during his two stints in Detroit and of the hundreds of athletes I represented in my career as an agent, none put in more effort or was more professional. Ben’s ascension from humble beginnings, his work ethic and his toughness resonated with Detroiters and it can be argued that no player has struck a greater accord with a city’s sensibilities. I’m so happy for Ben, I love him, and he’s truly deserving of this great honor.”
Former Detroit Pistons Player, President of Basketball Operations and Hall of Famer Joe Dumars
“Ben Wallace epitomized Detroit Pistons basketball. We don’t win a third NBA Championship without Ben Wallace. He was the foundation for everything we accomplished, and he was simply an incredible basketball player.”
Former Pistons Head Coach and Hall of Famer Larry Brown
“Seeing Ben elected to the Hall of Fame is so neat for me because this serves as an unbelievable lesson for young kids and those who love the game of basketball. It shows that you don’t have to score the most points to impact the game and whether it be his defense, rebounding or making the right play, Ben impacted the game every single time he stepped on the basketball court.”