Ben Wallace honored to have his No. 3 jersey retired -- Detroit News
Come tonight, though, his imprint and impact on the Pistons franchise will live on in the rafters.
"I don't really have any one or two things I want people to remember," Wallace said. "Just the fact that now I know they're going to have to remember me when that jersey goes up. All the fans that come to the arena will look up and, whether it's their first time or their fifth time, they want to know how those numbers get up there and who are those people.
"I just feel honored and blessed to be one of those people that 20 to 30 years from now people are going to come into the arena and see that jersey and be like, ‘Who's that guy? What's his story?' "
"Who's that guy? What's his story?"
I thought I couldn't love Big Ben any more than I already do. I'm discovering I'm wrong, indeed.
IT'S GRIN AND BEAR IT FOR BIG BEN WALLACE -- Detroit Free Press (June 12, 2004 -- Mitch Albom)
Much has been written about who epitomizes this Pistons team, who is at its beating core: Is it Richard Hamilton and his Energizer bunny game, is it the far-traveled Chauncey Billups, who finally found a home in Joe Dumars' tent, is it Rasheed Wallace, who was supposed to be such a me-me guy out West, but is the biggest cheerleader on this team?
I say there is nothing without Ben Wallace. He is the joist that supports the floor and ceiling. He is also sometimes just as invisible. But pull him out, and stuff comes crashing down. The defense finds security in his presence. Rebounding, as integral as scoring or defending, is never a worry when he's around. And they don't keep stats on slaps that keep a ball alive, or Wallace would lead the team.
Ben Wallace was once repeatedly referred to as 'Keon Clark' in a game against Keon Clark (VIDEO!!) -- Detroit Sports Nation
This trip down memory lane is rather
trippy peculiar, but all's well that ends well.
Ben Wallace: The Detroit Pistons' GOAT -- DBB
With his recent piece, Steve Hinson pins the opponent's shot against the glass and poses for a photo while he's at it. No goal-tending either.
If you're a Pistons fan, it's because you're not a hero-worshipper. You'd rather win without a superstar than with one. You love the team ball, ugly wins. Toughness.
The Pistons have had plenty of great players come through Detroit, each with their own claim to be the greatest. But none characterize the franchise better than Ben Wallace. He wouldn't be every team's greatest player. And that's a major part of what makes him the Pistons' GOAT.
10 Ben Wallace Moments That Re-built the Pistons from the Ground Up -- Detroit Sports Nation
October 11, 2001 - The Intro to Mason's Intro
B-B-B-B-B-Ben Wallace! Rest assured, there's only one way Ben Wallace will be introduced to The Palace faithful when his number's lifted to the rafters Saturday night. Mason took over as the Pistons' P.A. man prior to the start of the 2001-02 season. His early sessions showcased a work in progress (the clip above was his very first go-around) but well over a decade later, Mason's call, and the signature Big Ben chime, are Palace standards.
Pedal to the Metal -- Slam Online
"The guy who plays in the gym is a completely different player than the one who played in the NBA," says (former) Spurs forward and Virginia native Reggie Williams. "He brings the ball up and shoots jumpers. The first time I came through and saw him I was shocked." Wallace attempted just 51 three-pointers during his NBA career and made just 7. He was also a 41 percent free-throw shooter. A pure jump shot is not a skill basketball fans associate with him. And yet, when he plays in his Richmond gym, "he's getting buckets," says Billups. "He's got a mean handle, too. It's hilarious."
"I'm not going to go into the gym and just rebound and stuff like that," Wallace says. "The way I played in the League was work for me. Now I get a chance to go out and play basketball."
Amir Johnson fitting in, and Celtics are better for it -- Boston Globe
As we all know, Amir Johnson has turned into a quality NBA player over the years. It may seem like Amir is about 33 now, yet he's just 28. Funny how quickly time has passed and how Ben Wallace, among other early teammates of Amir's, has influenced his growth into the type of player he is today.
On a day prior to when Ben Wallace, his mentor from years ago, gets his number retired in Detroit, Amir Johnson is now the "old head" on the Celtics, wearing a heating pad on his left foot as he sat the entire second quarter.
The left foot has been painful most of the season, and the 28-year-old Johnson, who entered the NBA one month after his 18th birthday and has flourished as a dirty-work big man, continues to chug through the pain.
Amir Johnson's motor, hustle fuels team success -- CSNNE.com
While teams focused on his athleticism coming out of high school, Johnson said he learned real quick that being a good defender would be his calling card in the NBA.
He attributes some tough love treatment by ex-Celtic Rasheed Wallace and Ben Wallace during his early days in Detroit, for getting him to understand the importance of being a good defender.
"Those Detroit Bad Boys, Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace," Johnson told CSNNE.com. "Just the toughness aspect of it. Working out with those guys, and Antonio McDyess ... defense just kind of stuck with me. They did it and we won a lot of games in Detroit. I figured that was it; play great defense and you can win a lot of games."
It's pretty safe to say that there will never be another Ben Wallace. And that's totally OK.
Enjoy the ceremony, all. And maybe the Pistons v. Warriors game will be something to talk about too.