Ben Wallace is a retired NBA player who spent $20,000 of his rookie salary on teammate’s used car. It was a smart move because he made $225,000 as an NBA rookie and the car would have been worth about $4,500 at the time.

Ben Wallace is one of the best defenders in NBA history. He won a Defensive Player of the Year award and was selected to six All-Defensive teams. However, he only made $225,000 as an NBA rookie.

On September 11, 2021, Ben Wallace will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, an improbable distinction. Wallace is the first undrafted player from the NBA’s current draft period (starting in 1989) to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He is also the lowest scoring among NBA players chosen. His climb from Division II Virginia Union to the shrine in Springfield, Massachusetts, demonstrates the importance of defense and hard labor.

After averaging a double-double in two seasons at Virginia Union, which he led to the Division II Final Four as a senior, the Washington Bullets took a chance on Wallace in 1996. He became a starter and a star with the Detroit Pistons in the early twenty-first century during his lone season with the Orlando Magic. His NBA origins were modest, and his path to the game’s pinnacle was anything from ordinary.

Ben Wallace has a slew of questionable honors, but his NBA career was almost cut short.

Ben Wallace’s calling card was definitely not offensive firepower. Wallace averaged just 12.5 points per game as an All-American at Virginia Union. His NBA career average of 5.7 points per night passes pioneer Chuck Cooper’s record of 6.6 to become the lowest in the Hall of Fame.

Wilt Chamberlain, too, is breathing a sigh of relief somewhere. Wilt is no longer Springfield’s worst free-throw shooter, according to Wallace’s induction. Wallace’s 41.4 percent lifetime percentage surpassed Chamberlain’s 51.1 percent work from the stripe.

Wallace traveled to Italy for a trial with Viola Reggio Calabria after being undrafted. He just stayed for one game before returning home. The Bullets called him late, he made the roster, and the rest is history.

Wallace tied Dikembe Mutombo for the most Defensive Player of the Year honors with four. He accomplished it in five years, with the one miss between 2002 and 2006 coming in 2004, the year Detroit won the NBA championship.

Wallace’s one-year rookie deal wasn’t nearly as profitable in an age when almost every player earns $1 million or more per year. He spent a large portion of it on a high-priced item.

Wallace strikes a bargain with a fellow Hall of Famer.

Ben Wallace rose from being passed over in the 1996 NBA Draft to the Hall of Fame

Ben Wallace rose from being passed over in the 1996 NBA Draft to the Hall of Fame Ben Wallace made it to the Hall of Fame after being passed over in the 1996 NBA Draft. | Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Ben Wallace required transportation when he arrived in Washington. Chris Webber, another member of the Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2021 class, was one of his teammates. Wallace’s first deal was for less than $250,000 (Spotrac says $247,000, but he remembers a different figure).

According to an interview with Greydy Diaz of The Undefeated in 2018, Webber offered the youngster an offer he couldn’t refuse.

“Chris Webber sold me a Chevy Tahoe. He asked if I wanted to purchase it and offered me a reasonable price. In 1996, he modified the vehicle and sold it to me for $20,000, despite the fact that it was easily worth $50,000. It was my first year on the job, and my salary was just $225,000.”

Wallace and Webber spent two seasons in D.C. together. Webber was traded to the Sacramento Kings in 1998. In 2007, he made a cameo appearance with the Pistons, bringing his career to a close. Wallace signed a three-year, $46 million free-agent contract with the Chicago Bulls the following season.

The position of Ben Wallace on NBA career rankings is deceptive.

Ben Wallace’s statistics aren’t overpowering at first look in a game obsessed by data. Despite two championships in rebounding, his career average of 9.6 rebounds per game does not rank in the top 50 all-time. He also led the league in blocks in 2001–02, although his career average of 2.0 swats per game ranks him 24th.

Wallace, on the other hand, played fewer than 24 minutes each night for six seasons, falling below 20 minutes in three of them, and just 5.8 minutes per game as a rookie. Career averages will be shattered in a hurry as a result of this.

His statistics were at their most striking from 2001 to 2007. Wallace averaged 12.6 rebounds and 2.7 turnovers per game in six seasons with the Pistons and one with the Bulls. Even if he only scored a few times, that’s a good peak.

Wallace dominated games on the glass and on defense, much like Dennis Rodman before him. The spotlight goes to the scorers, but guys like Rodman and Wallace put in the work to earn rings. It’s no accident that both guys’ numbers are displayed in the Detroit rafters. It’s also not one in which Ben Wallace joins Rodman in the Hall of Fame.

Basketball Reference provided the statistics.

Carmelo Anthony believes he might have won many championships if he had been drafted by the Pistons.

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