Untold subplot of the Chicago/Detroit series = Ben Wallace’s hurt feelings.
Think about it…the guy was the heart of Detroit for all of these years. He was the guy that went from shitty afterthought in two trades to a powerhouse in those years. You do realize he went from Washington to Orlando with Tim Legler, Jeff McInnis and Terry Davis….where are they now? He came of age in the Palace of Auburn Hills. He pretty much defined the city with his blue-collar mentality. He was the cornerstone of that franchise, Ben Wallace was the guy who made them go. Everyone had their big afros in honor of Big Ben. All of his teammates honored and respected him. He became a rebounding and blocking machine with the Pistons, leading the league from 2001 to 2003. All of his hard work finally peaked in Detroit.
Ben Wallace finally became someone. He won Defensive Player of the Year honors, a ring, was voted into the starting lineup at the All-Star game. All of that happened in Detroit.
And then he bolted. Went to Chicago with his teammates blessing. This was his last chance to get a major league payday, his teammates couldn’t blame him.
The city of Detroit could. They couldn’t understand why Ben Wallace would leave. Joe Dumars said he would pay Ben and Ben said that was all he needed. I guess 50 million wasn’t enough. Upon his return to Detroit during this series he has been rained down on with an onslaught of never-ending boos. And you can see that it is taking its toll on him. Earlier in the week Big Ben was joking with reporters. Now its this;
“A loss is a loss,” Wallace tersely responded when asked if he’s upset about losing. “I’ve been over that, that ‘Ben Wallace and the Pistons.’ That’s been over.”
Ben Wallace has hurt feelings right now. He is hurting by the losing. Hurt that the blame is being placed on him. Hurt that the fans he once inspired now treat him as if he never existed in their universe. The equivalent of seeing your ex-girlfriend after breakin up and she doesn’t even give you a hug; yeah you knew things were different but now its a realization. And perhaps he is hurt and haunted that he made the wrong decision last summer. That he should be celebrating right now, not looking goofy without his handband and in a strange hue of red. His struggles this year have been well-noted; but what does he have left to prove? Can you really fault the man for perhaps ‘chilling’ for once in his career? He has done everything that an NBA player would want to do in a career. He got the accolades, the ring and now the money.
Unfortunately for Ben the struggles of Chicago are being blamed on him. Very unfairly I must say. It’s not Ben’s fault that the Bulls offered him the money and signed him. It’s not Ben’s fault they didn’t give him a viable low post scoring 4-man instead of P.J. Brown who has never averaged more than 12 in his career. Think about it…they essentially have two of the same players. They both love to board, bang and block shots. If you have two ‘dirty work’ guys how is that supposed to work? It’s not Ben’s fault the Bulls have no bench. He can only do so much.
Losses can be erased. Hurt pride….not so easy.