January 16, 2016 at the Palace of Auburn Hills will now serve as one of the most memorable days for Pistons’ Center, Ben Wallace as his number ‘3’ was formally retired after serving the organization for 9 years.
Pistons’ owner Tom Gores opened the ceremonies as he credited Wallace as the mold that they are trying to replicate.
“All your hard work embodies what we(Pistons) are all about,” said Gores. “You are what we are trying to create today. And we have a 16-point lead.”
“You don’t deserve this, you’ve earned this,” Gores ended
Wallace was one of the cornerstones of the Pistons during the early 2000s in which resulted to a championship in 2004 against Shaquille O’Neil and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers under the leadership of newly acquired coach, Larry Brown.
“All my kids now all wear their hair like you used to wear,” joked Brown during his message tribute to Wallace.
“I go all over the country and watch high school kids play and I am trying to find somebody just like you. You broke the mold. There will never be another one like you.”
The 2004 team of the Detroit Pistons will be remembered on how a bunch of ‘role players’ dethroned the mighty Los Angeles Lakers that lead the team to disband their superstars the next year.
“They said there were no superstars on that 2004 team. They don’t know what they were talking about,” said Brown.
Among Wallace’s teammates with the 2004 championship that were present were: Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace, Mehmet Okur, Mike James, Lindsey Hunter and Chauncey Billups.
Rasheed Wallace was the only teammate that had the floor to thank Ben Wallace. The two combined for the ‘Great Wall of Wallace’ who’s name was earned with the way they defend the interior during their heydays.
“To be able to play with you, good brother. The way you and I connected mentally without saying too many words to one another while we were defending this Palace, there will never be something like this,” said Rasheed Wallace.
A teary-eyed Ben Wallace faced the Pistons fans and grateful for the years that he played for the organization that trusted him.
“Looking back from where I came from and looking at the trials and tribulations that I had went through… I wouldn’t change it for the world,” said Ben Wallace.
The retired jersey number of Ben Wallace now joins Pistons legends – Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman, Chuck Daly, Vinnie Johnson, Bob Lanier, Dave Bing, Jack McCloskey and Bill Davidson.
Wallace retired with an impressive resume of having to win four defensive player of the year awards, 5-time NBA All-defensive first team, 4-time NBA All-Star, Two-time NBA Rebounds leader and an NBA Championship.
Later that night, an inspired Detroit Pistons stopped the defending NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors and Steph Curry’s 38-point night with a score of 113-95 to give them their 4th loss in the 2015-2016 NBA season.