Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News wrote a very good feature on Ben Wallace that’s well worth a read. An excerpt:
The youngest of 11 children from White Hall, Ala., had to be shielded from being picked on by his older brothers. The person providing the protection was his mother, Sadie Wallace, a diminutive woman feared in her home as if she were 2 feet taller.
"My mother was the biggest influence," Wallace said. "She showed me it’s about being a productive citizen — being responsible for your actions and working for everything you get."
Her voice was in his head when he was arrested for drunken driving last September in Bloomfield Township, when he was carrying an unloaded pistol.
Sadie’s voice will be in his head as Wallace’s name is announced tonight — either as a starter or off the bench.
And it’s Sadie, who died in 2003, Wallace wishes were here to help him decide, to be a soothing voice telling him not to fear the next transition in his life, to remind him that while 37 years might be ancient in pro sports, it’s still young in the game of life.
"The biggest fight I had was with myself when I had to come to terms that I’d lost my mother," said Wallace, his eyes slightly welling up. "That fight, mentally, was the biggest.
"I’ll never get over it, but I accepted it. … She was always a person I could turn to when basketball wasn’t going well. Any life decision I had to make, she always had an honest opinion."
What would she say?
"Like clockwork, ‘I’ll be there for you,’" Wallace said with a smile. "’No matter where your journey takes you, I’ll be there for you. Take your time and think about it.’ That was my cushion; she was never gonna judge me."
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