Virginia Union's Own Ben Wallace is heading to Springfield
NBA champion (2004), 4x Defensive Player of the Year (2002,2003,2005 and 2006), 4x NBA All-Star (2003-2006), Detroit Pistons all-time leader in blocks, his No.3 jersey retired with Pistons, Ben Wallace had one of a career. And an HBCU played a huge part in molding him not only as a player but as a man.
Ben Wallace began his college career at Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio. He then transferred to Virginia Union University to finish out his collegiate career. During his time at Virginia Union, he led the Panthers to the Division II Final Four and 28-3 record while averaging 13.4 points and 10 rebounds The Alabama native was selected to the First Team All CIAA and was Division II All-American. After leaving Richmond, he went undrafted and traveled to Italy to play. He played for 16 seasons, with five different teams averaging 9.6 rebounds, 5.7 points in 1,088 regular-season games.
During an interview on ESPN NBA countdown with Maria Taylor, Jalen Rose, and Adrian Wojnarowski, the future Hall of Famer reflected on his journey to Springfield, Massachusettes, “Umm I mean to have that journey to have it end the way its ending, its an awesome feeling. You know me. I have to sit back and think was I in love with the journey? Was I in love with the game? Or was I in love with the struggle. Coming through that struggle to finally reach the top, it epitomized what my game has been all about. My whole career is going out there working hard and leaving it on the table, night in and night out. Leaving nothing to chance, good things come to those who work hard. What more can I say?”
Big Ben retired in 2012 and is currently a co-owner and president of basketball operations of the G-League team Grand Rapids Drive.
The 2021 Hall of Fame Class includes Paul Pierce, NBA champion and 10x All-Star; Chris Bosh, 11 All-Star and 2x NBA champion; Chris Webber, 5x All-NBA selection; Rick Adelman, longtime NBA coach Bill Russell (as a coach) 2x champion as a coach, Yolanda Griffth, 7x WNBA All-Star; Lauren Jackson,7x WNBA All-Star and 3x MVP; Bob Dandridge, by veterans committee; Peal Moore, 4x AIAW Small College All-American, by women’s veteran's committee Clarence Jenkins, elected as an Early African-American pioneer; Val Ackerman, former WNBA president; and Colton Fitzsimmons, longtime NBA coach.
Those dear old walls and hallowed grounds at 1500 N Lombardy St. produce great talent.