Ben Wallace (born September 10, 1974) is an American basketball
player. He currently plays in the National Basketball Association with the
Cleveland Cavaliers. Nicknamed "Big Ben", he plays the center and power
forward positions, and is listed at 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) and 240 lb (110 kg).
He has won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award four times, a record
he shares with Dikembe Mutombo. Ben was a member of the Detroit Pistons team
that won the NBA championship in 2004. After signing with the Chicago Bulls
in 2006 as a free agent, Ben joined the Cleveland Cavaliers in a mid-season
trade in February 2008.
Ben Wallace was born in in White Hall, Alabama), a small town in Lowndes
County, and is the 10th of 11 children. He later attended Central High
School in Hayneville where he received all-state honors in basketball,
baseball, and football (as a linebacker). Former basketball player Charles
Oakley is Wallace's mentor, having discovered Ben at a 1991 basketball camp,
and later recommended Ben to his previous college, Virginia Union.
Ben first played college basketball on the junior college level at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland for two years. There, staples of Wallace's defensive prowess were shown as he averaged 17.0 rebounds and 6.9 blocks per game. He then transferred to Virginia Union, a Division II school, where he studied criminal justice. Ben averaged 13.4 points per game and 10.0 rebounds per game as a member of the Virginia Union Panthers, who he led to the Division II Final Four and a 28-3 record. As a senior, Ben was named to the First-Team All CIAA and was selected as a First Team All-American (Div. II) by the NABC. Ben was a letterman in football, baseball, basketball and track. He won All-State honors in all but track.
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As an undrafted player, he was signed as a rookie free agent by the Washington Bullets on October 2, 1996 after playing in Italy.
In 1999, Ben was traded to the Orlando Magic along with Tim Legler, Terry Davis, and Jeff McInnis for Ike Austin.
On August 3, 2000, Ben Wallace was traded along with Chucky Atkins to the Detroit Pistons for Grant Hill, in what was at the time considered a one-sided trade; Hill had planned to sign with Orlando as an unrestricted free agent, but the sign and trade deal allowed Hill to receive a slightly more lucrative contract while Detroit received at least some compensation for losing its marquee player. Since the trade, he has won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2001-02, 2002-03, 2004-05, and 2005-06 seasons, and was selected to six All-Defensive teams. In the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons, he led the league in both rebounds and blocked shots, the first to do so since Hakeem Olajuwon. In 2003, he was voted by fans to the first of his four NBA All-Star Game appearances as a center for the Eastern Conference.
Near the end of a November 2004 game against the Indiana Pacers, Ben responded to a foul by Indiana's Ron Artest by shoving Artest, which eventually led to the Pacers–Pistons brawl, involving both players and spectators. Ben was suspended for six games, and his brother David Wallace, received a year of probation and community service for punching Indiana players in the stands.
The Pistons began a tradition of sounding a deep chime whenever "Big Ben" scored or recorded a block on Detroit's home court, the Palace of Auburn Hills -- an allusion to the original Big Ben in London. (The Bulls and Cavaliers continued the gimmick during his respective tenures with Chicago and Cleveland).
On July 3, 2006, Ben agreed to a four-year, $60 million deal with the Chicago Bulls. During his two-year run in Chicago, Ben battled with various knee injuries and averaged 5.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 2.0 blocks per game.
On February 21, 2008, he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of a three-team deal that included the Seattle SuperSonics and the Chicago Bulls. The deal moved Ben to the power forward position with Zydrunas Ilgauskas as the starting center.
Following the trade, Ben played in 22 regular season games (all starts). In 26.3 minutes, he averaged 4.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. In 72 total regular season games Ben averaged 4.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.
Ben had a Cavalier regular season high of 12 points on February 24, 2008 against the Memphis Grizzlies, and had regular season Cavalier highs of 15 rebounds against the Charlotte Bobcats and four blocks against the Orlando Magic.
In the 2008 playoffs, Ben played in 13 games (all starts) and averaged 3.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. Ben Wallace had his playoff high of 12 rebounds in Game 4 win against the Washington Wizards in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
On November 25, 2008, Ben grabbed his 9,000th career rebound and blocked his 1,900th career shot.
Ben is married to Chanda and is the father of two sons, Ben Jr. and Bryce, and one daughter, Baile, and currently lives in Moreland Hills, Ohio.
Ben appeared on the cover of ESPN NBA 2K5. An inflatable basketball training aid of Wallace's likeness, called the Inflatable Defender, is manufactured by PlayAir Systems. His new sneaker, the Big Ben was released November 5, 2007 under Stephon Marbury's Starbury label and sold for $14.98 at Steve & Barry's stores.
Ben had gained great notoriety in the Detroit area and nationwide, and fans often arrived at his games sporting wigs in honor of his trademark afro hairstyle. However, he usually only had the afro for home games; for away games, he had his hair styled into cornrows. He said he was heckled at away games for his hairstyles. (Upon unveiling an afro of his own, the record producer Phil Spector claimed it was a "tribute" to Ben Wallace, along with Albert Einstein and Beethoven.)
This Ben Wallace Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub