Patrick Hayes at PistonPowered.com sure knows how to get my blood pressure going in the morning. He flagged a story out from the Denver Post where Nuggets head coach George Karl waxes on Broncos starting quarterback Tim Tebow. Because, you know, everyone is obligated to write and talk about Tim Tebow.
Asked what NBA players remind him of Tebow, Karl took a moment and then said: “With the will to win, Manu Ginobili is the type of guy, he has this exuberance of – we’re going to win the (darn) game with effort, passion and commitment. He’s the first guy that came to mind.
“A guy who wins it on his heart more than his skills – Ben Wallace. He was an undersized, defensive player who can’t score, but won a championship.”
Patrick rightly points out that this is severely underselling Wallace’s skills and contribution to the NBA. I commented on the story but I’ll repeat it here.
For nearly his whole career, Ben Wallace has made a positive impact on the court every minute he plays, free throws excepted. Wallace didn’t win in spite of a lack of talent, he won in spite of a lack of size. He’s like a defensive version of Drew Brees, if one needs to make an NFL analogy. He had the skills to be the most dominant defensive player in the league for several years (just check his trophy shelf). He had the strength and athleticism to block shots, grab rebounds, and body up against the biggest, most dominant players in the NBA, and had the intelligence to be the league’s best help-side defender for the majority of his career.
Where his heart comes in is in his ability to impose his will on opposing players for 30 minutes per night for 82 games a year. Tim Tebow might have heart. He might have faith. He might have leadership. But he has never dominated anything in the NFL except media coverage. I can’t wait for Tebow’s inevitable fall from grace once he has to play a month’s worth of games against worthy opponents. And hopefully this will spur people that know about the true legacy of Ben Wallace to pipe up and explain just how awesome he was during the Detroit Pistons championship era.