Ex-Piston nets ownership stake in Grand Rapids Drive
A retired NBA champion has returned to the court.
Ben Wallace is now a co-owner and the chairman of the Grand Rapids Drive.
The Drive are an affiliate of the Detroit Pistons, where Wallace played during most of his NBA career.
Wallace spent 16 years in the NBA before he retired in 2012. During his career, he won one NBA title with the Pistons. He was also a four-time NBA All-Star and a four-time Defensive Player of the Year. The Pistons retired Wallace's No. 3 jersey in 2016.
“I’m excited to start this new journey in my career,” Wallace said. “The G League is a perfect fit for me to grow my business skills and continue to be connected to the game. We’re going to keep working hard on and off the court to make this team a success.”
Wallace is an investor in the team, according to Ryan Slusarzyk, the team’s director of sales and marketing, and Steve Jbara, co-owner and president of the Drive, remains the team’s majority investor.
“We’re ecstatic to have Ben as a member of the front office,” Jbara said. “His experience and work ethic will benefit us immensely as we continue to see this league grow. Ben will be working on the business and basketball side of the organization.
“He brings new ideas and concepts to the business sector and his story and journey into the NBA relates with our players trying to get to the next level. This advising and mentorship of our players will lead to continued success on the floor.”
As chairman, Wallace will focus on multiple front-office projects, such as helping to garner sponsorships and acquiring players.
He’ll also teach players how to speak to the media, how to conduct themselves as a professional player on and off the court and work in whatever capacity the coaches would like to use him.