BEN Wallace made history two years ago as the first-ever undrafted player to be inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame.
The 48-year-old overcame all the odds – including growing up in rural Alabama and cutting hair for $3 to being rejected on draft night.
Ben Wallace was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2001Credit: Getty
He got his break with Washington and became an NBA champion with the Detroit PistonsCredit: Getty
Wallace ultimately went down as one of the best defensive players to play in the NBA.
His defending and rebounding were key in Detroit Pistons winning the championship in 2004.
Wallace was also a four-time NBA All-Star and four-time Defensive Player of the Year.
He had his No 3 jersey retired by the Pistons – where he had two spells and enjoyed most of his success.
Wallace recalls the star-studded 1996 NBA Draft and the feeling of being overlooked.
Allen Iverson went No. 1 overall with Ray Allen fifth, Kobe Bryant 13th, and Steve Nash 15th.
In an interview with NBA.com, Wallace said: “Once you get over the initial shock and once you get over the fact that everybody have to pay for not taking a chance on you, it’s back to the grind.
“So I went back to the gym that night. I was on a mission to let everybody know, ‘Y’all missed one.’
“And I did reps on the bench press to everybody’s name that was called in that draft until I gave up.
“So it was whoever – AI, ‘Starbury,’ Shareef, Jermaine, Ray, Kobe. For me it just became motivation. It’s me against the world now, my back up against the wall.
“Guys that got drafted, it wasn’t personal, but that’s the way I went about my business.
“I seen what type of teams the top guys were going to. And I kept my eye on them from the time I got to [the league] till I retired. I always kept my eye on them.”
Wallace was the 10th of 11 children and grew up in rural Alabama.
His path to basketball came from attending a camp organized by Charles Oakley.
And he spent Fourth of July weekend handing out haircuts for $3 to raise money for the camp.
He got the $50 he needed to head to the one-week camp 100 miles away and chase his basketball dream.
Wallace said: “Growing up in rural Alabama and not having a lot, but having a work ethic and a drive and a determination to not be afraid to go out in the world and work for anything that I wanted.
“That came from my mom and the way she raised me.”
After going undrafted, Wallace moved to Italy to play for Viola Reggio Calabria.
His NBA break came later in 1996 when the Washington Bullets, later Washington Wizards, came calling.
He also had spells at the Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls, and Cleveland Cavaliers.
But his 2000-2006 stint with the Detroit Pistons is when he made a name for himself.
And he returned to Detroit to end his career from 2009 to 2012 before the team retired his jersey in a special ceremony four years later.
Ben Wallace in his Hall of Fame jacket with his childrenCredit: Instagram/brycewallacee