Does Ben Wallace deserve a spot in the Hall of Fame?

Jan 16, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons center Aron Baynes (12) wears a Ben Wallace shirt during the first quarter against the Golden State Warriors at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Pistons won 113-95. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 16, 2016; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons center Aron Baynes (12) wears a Ben Wallace shirt during the first quarter against the Golden State Warriors at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Pistons won 113-95. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Former Detroit Pistons’ legend Ben Wallace is one of the most dominant defensive players to ever step foot on a basketball court. Is he deserving of a Hall of Fame induction?

Born and raised in the small city of White Hall, Alabama, Detroit Pistons’ legend Ben Wallace knew one thing: the game of basketball. He attended Cuyahoga Community College for two seasons before transferring to play for Division II Virginia Union University.

While at community college, Wallace showed off his future dominance by averaging 17 rebounds and 6.9 blocks per game. In his two seasons at Virginia Union, he posted an average of 13.4 points and 10 rebounds per game, leading his team to a 28-3 record and a Division II Final Four appearance.

Although his play during college was respectable, it was not enough, ultimately leading Wallace to be un-drafted. His playing days were far from over though, soon latching on as a reserve man for the then Washington Bullets. He only appeared in 34 games during the 1996-1997 season, averaging very little amounts of minutes.

Respectively, things started to change for Wallace in his second season with Washington, playing in 67 games and averaging 3.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. His best highlight of the season was 1.1 blocks per game, only a mere glimpse of what was to come.

Related Story: Palace Memories: Tayshaun Prince

In his third season of the NBA, the shortened 1998-1999 lock-out season, Wallace began to emerge as a defensive presence. He started in 16 of the 46 games, averaging 6 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. Although his play intrigued Washington, it was not enough for a playoff berth. Wallace was ultimately traded to the Orlando Magic in a multi-player deal centered around Isaac Austin.

Fresh on a new team, Wallace found his footing in the league. He started in all 81 games that he appeared, putting up 4.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per outing. His play earned Orlando 41 wins, but was not enough to sneak into the playoffs. Wallace, again, ended up being a trade piece in a deal with the Detroit Pistons, with Orlando acquiring superstar Grant Hill via sign-and-trade.

More from PistonPowered

Later, the Pistons undoubtedly got the better end of the deal. Hill’s superstar days halted due to injuries, whilst Wallace’s Hall of Fame career was just beginning.

To begin with, Wallace showed that the Grant Hill trade might not have been as one-sided as many thought. Averaging 6.4 points, a career high 13.2 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per night, Wallace made his mark on defense in the 2000-2001 season.

The 13.2 rebounds per game placed second among the league, while his 2.3 blocks cracked the top ten in the league. While not making headways in the scoring department, Wallace slowly made a name for himself defensively.

Surprisingly, his 2001-2002 season was even more dominating, averaging 7.6 points, 13 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks per game. The 13 rebounds and 3.5 blocks led the league, eventually earning Wallace his first of four Defensive Player of the Year awards. He also made his way onto the All-Defensive First Team and the All-NBA Third Team. His play earned the Pistons 50 wins and a playoff berth.

Continuing the trend, Wallace’s 2002-2003 season did not disappoint, as he earned his way to his second Defensive Player of the Year award, latching onto the All-Defensive First team and All-NBA Second Team as well. Once again, Detroit made it to the playoffs, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals. They fell to the defending Eastern Conference champ New Jersey Nets, putting an end to their playoff run.

The 2003-2004 season was different. Ben Wallace is still their defensive anchor, but drafting Darko Milicic with the second pick in the draft opens the door for more possibilities. Milicic carried loads of upside, with the potential to flourish beside Ben Wallace.

It became evident that Darko was not panning out the way they had hoped, though, eventually bringing aboard the likes of Rasheed Wallace via trade. This trade set Detroit up for success, and also helped cement Wallace’s legacy.  Wallace was not able to three-peat as Defensive Player of the Year, losing the battle to Ron Artest, but Wallace took home the best prize of them all: an NBA Championship ring.

Furthermore, Ben Wallace enters the 2004-2005 season hungry for his Defensive Player of the Year award and to, most importantly, repeat as champions.

Luckily, they were able to make it out of the East, with Wallace besting Shaquille O’Neal once again, now a member of the Miami Heat.  Wallace got one of his wishes, earning his third Defensive Player of the Year award, but came up just short in a grueling seven-game Finals matchup against the San Antonio Spurs.

During Wallace’s fifth and final season with Detroit, he earned his fourth and final Defensive Player of the Year award. Also, Wallace was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star Team for the fourth consecutive year. This time in the playoffs, Detroit struggles to find their footing in an Eastern Conference Finals rematch against the Miami Heat, ultimately losing the series in six games.

Next, Ben Wallace decided to enter free agency, signing with the Detroit Pistons division rival, Chicago Bulls. Undoubtedly, this ended his dominant rain with Detroit, though eventually returning to Piston red, white, and blue for three more seasons to finish out his career.


Even though Ben Wallace never gained an edge in scoring, he showed his dominant defense throughout his years in the NBA. Hence, as a defensive and rebounding anchor for Detroit, Wallace should be deemed fit for the Hall of Fame.


NBA Records and Achievements: 

Detroit Pistons Franchise Records:

  • Most blocked shots, all-time: 1,486 (2000–2006, 2009–2012)
  • Most blocked shots in
  • Highest blocks-per-game average, all-time: 2.3 (2000–2006, 2009–2012)
  • Highest blocks-per-game average, one season: 3.48 (2001–02)
  • Most steals, one game, playoffs: 7 (Game 4, 2003 Eastern Conference First Round)

As a result, Ben Wallace is one of the greatest defensive players to ever play the game of basketball. From going un-drafted, to being an NBA champion, Ben Wallace earned his way into the league. With only Dikembe Mutombo being the only other player to ever earn Defensive Player of the Year award four times, Wallace finds his name amongst the past greats of the league.

Next: Should Detroit trade up in the draft?

If Ben Wallace does get inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, it will prove that it is not all about scoring and three-point shooting. Defense is key. Should Ben Wallace be inducted into the Hall of Fame? You be the judge.