Like many stars, 16-year NBA veteran Ben Wallace has been through many highs and lows over the course of his basketball career.
While the path wasn't easy for him, he did the best he could, capturing an NBA title with the Pistons in 2004 and being named an All-Star from 2002-2006.
It has been years since we've seen Wallace on the court, but he recently shared some words ahead of his Hall-of-Fame enshrinement, reflecting on his career and some of the things he learned along the way.
“Hoop dreams die hard if you don’t give the game your all. It’ll haunt you for the rest of your life. I started from the bottom and became a winner. Some things went wrong and could have been worse, but I stayed on the path. People think being 6' 9" and guarding 7-footers was the toughest part of my journey. No, that part wasn’t nearly as tough as what I had to do to get to that point.”
As the first undrafted player to ever get selected into the Hall of Fame, it's fair to say that nobody but Wallace knew what he was capable of when it all started.
In fact, he himself never really imagined he'd become a Hall-of-Famer.
“When I became king on the court against my brothers, they stopped playing with me,” Wallace says. “When I started to learn the game, play the game and appreciate the game, I knew I had a chance to be good at it.
But the Naismith Hall of Fame, that’s not something you prepare for. That’s taboo. You don’t go to the playground saying, ‘I’m going to be a Hall of Famer.’ It was the furthest thing from my mind.”
Wallace's journey is one a lot of people can relate to: an underdog with a lot going against him beating the odds through hard work, dedication, and a warrior's spirit.
In the end, those values are what ultimately made the difference, and kudos to Wallace for his perseverance to keep on pushing in spite of all the obstacles in his path.