Ben Wallace is headed to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, being inducted with the Class of 2021 on Saturday, Sept. 11.
The star big man is most recognised for his four Defensive Player of the Year awards, which ties him with Dikembe Mutumbo for the most in NBA history, but there are plenty of other awards and accolades that bolster his resume.
Wallace was a four-time All-Star, five-time All-NBA member, six-time All-Defensive Team member, a two-time rebounding champion, one-time blocks champion and one-time NBA champion, earning the title with the Detroit Pistons in 2004.
In honour of the all-time great defender, our NBA.com Staff looks back on the best moments of Wallace's career.
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): The first moment that comes to mind is Wallace's block on Shaquille O'Neal.
You probably know what I'm talking about. If you don't, feast your eyes on this:
Ben Wallace turns 45.- NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) September 10, 2019
🏆 NBA champion
🚫 4x Defensive Player of the Year
⭐️ 4x NBA All-Star
He was an absolute force 💪 pic.twitter.com/n5lVv4hQ1I
It's arguably the single most memorable play of Wallace's career, but it just goes to show what made him such a force defensively. Wallace is listed as being four inches shorter and 85 pounds (!) lighter than Shaq, and yet he had the superhuman strength - as well as the perfect timing - to prevent Shaq from even getting a shot off to force a jump ball.
The list of players in NBA history who could do that to Shaq is ... not long.
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): Not to piggyback on Shaq here, but Wallace's Game 5 performance in the 2004 NBA Finals to close out O'Neal and the Lakers sticks out to me.
The Pistons held a 3-1 series lead with the chance to close out the Finals and win the NBA title at home, and Wallace did everything in his power to assure that would happen. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year was playing with something to prove during the 2004 postseason after being snubbed for his third-consecutive DPOY honour. (He would later go on to win the 2004-05 and 2005-06 Defensive Player of the Year awards, just nearly missing out on taking home the award in five consecutive seasons).
Wallace dominated the Game 5 Finals close-out game, tallying 18 points, 22 rebounds, three steals, one block and one assist, setting the tone to earn his first and only NBA championship.
He had a few jaw-dropping plays on both ends of the floor, as he always did. A first-quarter sequence that started with a steal and ended with a coast-to-coast fastbreak dunk was something few big men are capable of doing. In the third quarter, he sent the Palace of Auburn Hills into a frenzy with an electrifying putback dunk on Bryon Russell. Later that quarter, he also had an insane block on O'Neal, but it was called back for goaltending.
Lastly, there was no better way to cap off the game and seal the fate of an NBA championship than a vicious putback on Shaq's head.
Wallace was a different breed of big man.
Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): Both Scott and Kyle outlined the most memorable moments for me with respect to Wallace's career, so I'm going to take a slightly different route here.
When I think of Wallace, I think of his aura. For a lot of people in my generation, he made defence look cool. He made being the hardest working player on the floor look cool.
The fro, the braids, the headband, the bicep bands, being the first player not named Allen Iverson to grace the cover of NBA 2K, "The Final Countdown" playing while the Pistons' PA announcer blared out "B-B-B-Bennnnn Wallace," Big Ben's bell ringing when he made a big play … all of it.
The image I'll always have in my mind of Big Ben is him taking the spraypaint can to the scorer's table graphic to cross out the number one, signifying the Pistons had won 16 games to win the 2004 NBA Finals. There was no better person to do it, and for me, it encapsulated how iconic he was.
Not bad for an undrafted center.
Benyam Kidane (@BenyamKidane): While some of his best performances came in the postseason, Wallace delivered one of his most memorable games against the Miami Heat in the regular season in 2002, recording a triple-double with blocks.
Since 2000, only 14 players have recorded a triple-double with blocks, with Wallace notching two during his career. His first came earlier in 2002 in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, but against the Heat, he poured in 12 points, 19 rebounds and tied a franchise high with 10 blocks to lead them to victory.
Wallace set a Pistons record with six blocks in the first quarter alone.
While we're used to seeing triple-doubles with regularity these days, in the 2002-03 season, there was only 42 total triple-doubles. Getting a triple-double with blocks is something else.
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