Ben Wallace was a big force during his time with the Detroit Pistons, becoming one of the best defensive players in the league during the 2000s. Big Ben was a big figure for the Orlando Magic before that and his game really took off after he landed in the Palace.
That move really changed his career, with Wallace even winning an NBA title and several individual accolades, but things would’ve been different for him, according to a former teammate. Darrell Armstrong recently revealed Wallace was hesitant of going to Detroit, but the Magic had no intention to pay him $28-$30 million, which is what Detroit offered him. In the end, he left Orlando via sign-and-trade with Chucky Atkins in exchange for Grant Hill.
“The crazy thing is Ben Wallace didn’t want to leave Orlando, but he could turn down that money and I told him, dog you can’t turn down $28 to $30 million. When told me what was going on with the situation. I told him, hey big fella did anybody else offer you anything, Armstrong,” said on the What’s Your Opinion Podcast, via Landon Buford. “He was like Orlando offered me this and I said did anybody else offer you anything, he was like, yeah Detroit. I said what did they offer you? $20- $34 million. I said I’m going to miss you big dog. You can’t turn that down and it turned out to be the best thing for him. He became Ben Wallace during that one season with us and went over there and became Big Ben Wallace.”
If you ask Wallace now, he would tell you he’s happy things went the way they were. He became a big deal in Detroit, winning the Defensive Player of the Year four-times, becoming a four-time All-Star, named to the All-NBA team five times, and won the Championship in 2004 against the Los Angeles Lakers with Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, and Gary Payton.
Imagine if he actually stayed in Orlando and never went to Detroit… Luckily, that’s not something he and the Pistons fans have to worry about right now.