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Ben Wallace touches on 'inspirational' journey to the Hall of Fame

Pistons great becomes first undrafted player ever inducted
Ben Wallace
Posted at 10:15 PM, May 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-23 23:02:42-04

(WXMI) — Ben Wallace still hasn't time to process the happenings of the past week.

"I'm still trying to take some time to soak it all in," Wallace said in a one-on-one interview.

One-on-one with Ben Wallace

Wallace, a Detroit Pistons great and four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, was officially inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Monday.

He was a finalist for induction in 2019 but just missed the cut and admittedly, doubt crept in.

"There's always some doubt," Wallace added, "this is the highest honor that the game of basketball can give you. You just hope that you know all the work that you put in over the years gets noticed and you get rewarded for it."

Ben Wallace
Ben Wallace poses with the NBA Defensive Player of the Year trophy.

'Big Ben' also becomes the first-ever undrafted National Basketball Association player to be inducted, which could pave the way for others.

"That part means the most, because I look at my story as an inspiration, not just for up-and-coming basketball players or athletes. It's a story that everybody can tap into, no matter what, no matter what job or career path you choose. If you put in that work and you work hard, you're honest with yourself about it, good things will happen."

Wallace was at his home in Detroit when he received the call last weekend that his peers had voted him in.

"I got a call from it from the guys from the Hall of Fame committee, and they told me that I made it," he smiled, "I really didn't know what to say, because what do you say when you get that call and say that you made it in?"

Ben Wallace blocks Dwight Howard
Detroit Pistons' Ben Wallace (6) tries to block a shot by Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

The texts and calls still haven't stopped for Wallace after his big moment.

"The phone hasn't stopped ringing yet," Big Ben laughed, "I mean it's good to know that so many people are rooting for me and so many people are pulling for me. So many people have been behind me from day one."

Wallace is part of a 2021Hall of Fame class that includes the likes of Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce and Chris Webber, someone he is extremely close with.

"It was ironic that when I came into the league, Chris Webber was one of my veterans," Wallace explained, "he was one of the guys that took an interest in me right away. He taught me the game and how to be a true professional and it's not too common that a rookie follows you into the Hall of Fame."

Ben Wallace and Chris Webber
Chicago Bulls center Ben Wallace, right, drives against Detroit Pistons center Chris Webber, during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA second-round playoff basketball series, Tuesday, May 15, 2007, in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

And the iconic afro is something that was also started between Wallace and Webber.

"That afro, it got started between me, Chris Webber and Darvin Ham, it was a bet," Wallace laughed.

Big Ben will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, located in Springfield, Massachusetts on September 11, 2021.