Greatest Underdogs in Sports History

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Greatest Underdogs in Sports History

In honor of Linsanity—Jeremy Lin and nine more zero-to-hero athletes.
The list of NBA greats to go undrafted is short to nonexistent, depending on who you ask. There has never been an undrafted NBA MVP, and most likely, there never will be. There have been, however, a number of undrafted players who’ve found success in the NBA, and Ben Wallace is undoubtedly the greatest of them all. Undrafted out of Virginia Union (the alma mater of his mentor and former Knicks forward Charles Oakley), Wallace wasn’t viewed as a legitimate option by NBA teams, having played at a Division II school.

Wallace still managed to sign as a free agent with the Washington (then) Bullets, and carved out a steady role on the team by his third season. He then played one year for the Orlando Magic, before being traded to the Detroit Pistons for Grant Hill. It was in Detroit where Wallace cemented his legacy as one of the greatest defenders in NBA history, winning the league’s Defensive Player of the Year Award a record-tying four times. Wallace was also a four-time All-Star (most ever for an undrafted player) and helped lead the Pistons to an NBA Championship in 2004.

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