Ben Wallace talks remote control cars, past transgressions in interview
Darvin Ham, Chauncey Billups, Tayshaun Prince and many others contributed to SLAM's Yaron Weitzman's piece delving into Ben Wallace's playing past and current activities. The entire article is worth a read, and I cannot give it justice, so I strongly recommend you head over to SLAM and take it in. Here are some of the quotes that stood out.
On versing Shaquille O'Neal in the 2004 NBA Finals:
"Did I think I was better than Shaq? No," Wallace says when asked how he guarded the much larger Shaquille O'Neal during that series. "But that doesn't mean I was going to roll over for him. He was going to have to earn his stripes. I just wanted to compete."
On his trouble with the law, including several DUIs:
"I felt like I disappointed the people around me," Wallace says. "Being there, it really hits you that your freedom, the ability to do things like get up and get water from the kitchen because you're thirsty, can be taken away from you."
"Where I came from, if you had told me that by the time I was 40 the worst thing people would be able to say about me is that I spent one night in jail, I'd say I'm still winning," Wallace says. "I'm proud of what I've done. My life could have gone in a lot of different directions. But looking back, I feel like when it was time to make those big decisions, I made the right ones."
Weitzman's piece also touches on Wallace's retirement activities, spending time between the basketball courts he helped build to racing his custom-made RC cars. The four-time All Star and Defensive Player of the Year played seventeen seasons in the NBA after going undrafted in 1996, his journey to becoming one of the main cogs in the 2004 Pistons Championship squad was a windy one. Wallace latched on to the Bullets after the draft, and was expected to train with the team's guards, a notion many now would laugh at considering he went on to average 5.7 points per game for his career on a shooting slash of .474/.137/.414. He was eventually traded to the Magic, and then the Pistons, where he unlocked the tremendous defensive potential that made him one of, if not the, best defensive player in the NBA during his time.
Detroit's 2016 team will boast intriguing mix of youth and talent
24.6. That is the average age of the Pistons starting lineup according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. The team currently has only five players over the age of thirty on its' roster, two of which are fighting for roster spots (Cartier Martin & Danny Granger), and only one who is expected to see consistent minutes (Anthony Tolliver). The remaining two are veteran insurance policies at positions of depth -- Steve Blake at point guard and Joel Anthony at center.
There are two 21 year-olds in the starting lineup, Andre Drummond and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a 19 year-old who is expected to log heavy minutes (Stanley Johnson), and a trio of 22 year-olds trying to carve themselves a role on Stan Van Gundy's team (Spencer Dinwiddie, Darrun Hilliard & Adonis Thomas). The Pistons' head coach is a bit weary of the team's youth, but sees in it a large amount of promise, per the Free Press:
"I think, in a perfect world, we'd sprinkle in a couple more veterans to where we are," Van Gundy said recently. "It's a really, really young team, but I think the things that we've wanted to add, in terms of toughness, defense, shooting ... I think we've been able to improve in all of those areas," Van Gundy said. "I do feel good about what we've got. We can play with more energy. We can play with more quickness defensively. I think we've got more versatility going into next year. So yeah, I'm happy."
The Pistons will field one of the youngest starting fives in the League, but also one with enough potential to propel it to the top half of the Eastern Conference... Could this be the year Motown makes its first playoff appearance since 2009? Almost certainly, but could they manage to get through to the second round? Lets see how the team's young core unlocks its' potential when they take the floor together in October.
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50mins no break (basketball). 50mins no Break (Weights). Hoop. Late Night shooting for hour.— BRANDON JENNINGS (@BrandonJennings) July 30, 2015