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2021 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony

Source: Maddie Meyer / Getty

Being a Legend in the National Basketball Association is something that is sought after amongst everyone who enters the league, but very few achieve. Heck, playing professional basketball in the NBA alone is one of the most sought out dreams for kids all across the world. Those odds, According to sources, you have a 1,3,333 (0.0003%) chance of making it into the NBA. Those odds could get a little tougher if you didn’t get drafted. All the legends we know today got their named called on draft night, expect this one.

Ben Wallace became the first ever undrafted NBA player, to be inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame. Wallace, defying all odds, credits his hardworking, humble upbring in his hometown of White Hall, Alabama to achieve such a feat. The tenth of eleven siblings, Wallace was introduced to a lot of sports growing up, and originally feel in love with football growing up. He playing organized football all the way up until his senior year of high school. After a teammate of his suffered a season ending neck injury, Wallace reconsidered his future in football and turned his attention to Basketball.

Already having picked up the sport at such a late age, their wasn’t a huge expectation, but he took a huge liking to the sport and decided to take it serious. After playing for a community college, he got a plethora of offers from Division I schools, but because he did not graduate, many of those offers subsided. He choose to attend Virginia Union were he was named Division II All-American, team MVP and CIAA MVP, as well as Defensive Player of the Year.

BKN-RAPTORS-PISTONS-7

Source: JEFF KOWALSKY / Getty

These accomplishments gave him enough confidence to enter the NBA Draft, in the year 1996. Arguably the most talented NBA draft of all-time with the likes of Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, Steve Nash and many more, Ben Wallace had his work cut out for him and ultimately knew there was a possibility of his name not being called that night. Unfortunately, Wallace did not get his name called that night, but that did not deter him from chasing his hoop dreams. That same night he went to the gym and worked out.

Shortly after the draft he signed to a basketball league in Italy where he would play professionally. Until he got a call from Wes Unseld to try out for the Washington Wizards, formerly known then, as the Bullets. After multiple successful tryouts, Wallace made the cut and got a contract with the team. But he was just scratching the surface in terms of fulfilling his destiny as and NBA player.

He would play for the Orlando Magic for one year, then be traded for Grant Hill, in a deal that shocked the sports world, and head to Detroit Pistons.

“The team that my game would probably most fit today.. would be Philly” – Ben Wallace

“They (Pistons) allowed me to come in and just be myself, no expectations.” Wallace explained in an interview with RNBPhilly’s DNA. “If it wasn’t for Grant Hill, nobody would have knew my name coming to Detroit. So it just gave me the opportunity to just relax and play my game.”

Little did the organization know they had landed such a gem. Wallace would mature into a defensive stallworth and become the centerpiece of the 2004 Pistons who would go on to win Detroit their first title since the ‘Bad Boy Pistons’ back-to-back title run in 1989 and 1990. Wallace talks about the importance of that Championship and how significant it was for him to bring it back to such a hardworking blue-collar city.

“After we walked off the floor, back into the locker room, popping champagne, enjoying your teammates, enjoying the moment of winning a championship. You’re making memories for life.” Wallace said in his documentary. “No matter what happened, from this day forward, they could never take the fact (away) that we are were champions”.

Washington Wizards v Detroit Pistons

Source: Gregory Shamus / Getty

Although Wallace won a championship, the destiny did not stop there. He was later inducted into the 2021 NBA Hall of Fame, becoming the only player in the hall, to be undrafted. Wallace recalls that day vividly, explaining it as moment where he did not know exactly how to feel because the moment was so surreal.

“When I got the call I was at home, watching a little TV. It was an amazing feeling, but it was a surreal feeling because you don’t really know how to act or how to celebrate, or what really went into you becoming a Hall of Famer.” Wallace explaines. When you stop and think about that you had to be judged by your peers, you know, and the ones that came before you to get the nod to be able to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, it means that much more.”

Washington Wizards' Michael Jordan (L) collides wi

Source: JEFF KOWALSKY / Getty

Wallace says today, game could still translate to todays game and has a specific team in mind for his style of play.

“The team that my game would probably most fit today.. would be Philly” Wallace said. “With Embiid on the block. I think I could get around the basket, and make something happen with a big post player on the block like Embiid.”

Arguably the greatest NBA player to ever go undrafted, Ben Wallace chop it up with DNA on his legendary career, his partnership with AND1 and answers some fun quick questions of his time in the NBA!

Watch the full interview below!

The Chosen One: Ben Wallace Talks Going Undrafted to NBA Hall of Fame  was originally published on rnbphilly.com