Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons' Ben Wallace Receives Probation for DUI Charge

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 03:  Ben Wallace #6 of the Detroit Pistons against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on November 3, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Andrew KulhaSenior Analyst IIIDecember 13, 2011

Detroit Pistons' center Ben Wallace has been sentenced to one year of probation and community service for drunken driving and gun charges.

To be very frank, this is exceptional news for Wallace, as he got off very easy.

He was pulled over in late September for driving erratically, but according to Mike Martindale of The Detroit News, that was the least of Wallace's problems that night:

Wallace was arrested at 3 a.m. Sept. 24 after a police officer spotted him driving his 2007 Cadillac Escalade erratically on Telegraph Road near Long Lake Road.

Wallace appeared intoxicated and admitted to the officer he had a few beers a couple hours earlier. After spotting live ammunition in the car, the officer suggested that another officer check the vehicle; an unloaded handgun and a loaded magazine were found inside a backpack.

Not only was Wallace dealing with a DUI situation, but at first he was looking at a concealed weapon charge, which is a five-year felony.

According to L.L. Brasier of The Detroit Free Press, Wallace was able to bring the charges down to carrying a weapon while driving intoxicated, which would still be a 93-day misdemeanor, and one count of a DWI.

His sentencing was today, and compared to what he could have gotten, probation, a $600 fine and community service (basketball camp, mind you) is a walk in the park. 

Legally it looks like Wallace will get off easy, but there are still many questions surrounding the Pistons big man and legend.

Is Big Ben still able to play high-quality basketball?

AUBURN HILLS, MI - JUNE 16:  Ben Wallace #3 of the Detroit Pistons takes a breather during a stoppage in play in the second half as the Pistons take on the San Antonio Spurs in Game four of the 2005 NBA Finals at The Palace of Auburn Hills on June 16, 200
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

He's going to be allowed to travel out of state with the team on his probation, and right now he's the only true center on the Pistons roster.

At 37, Wallace is becoming more than just a veteran though. He may be a liability.

At one time there could be no one else the Pistons would want patrolling the paint, and his four NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards are proof of that statement.

The "Big Ben" gong was one of the most recognizable noises in sports, and it echoed throughout the Palace more times than not, as Wallace was making huge game-changing plays more times than not.

That all seems like a very distant memory though. The gray in his hair is almost as distinct as the 2.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and one block that he averaged last season with the Pistons.

He isn't the Ben Wallace of old. That's rather obvious, and he isn't getting any younger.

How much longer will the Pistons be able to rely on him, and how much longer will he be effective, especially with his legal issues?

Wallace may have gotten off easy with the law, but the court of public opinion is based off one thing and one thing only:

What have you done for me lately?

Wallace may be a Pistons legend, but I have to wonder how much longer fans, coaches and players will be willing to hold onto him.

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