By Konate Primus
A week ago I caught up with Big Ben in the NYC to discuss a few things on my mind and more interesting, what’s on his mind. With his new signature shoe dropping in early November for only $14.98 (exclusively at Steve and Barry’s). Mr.Wallace was more than happy to give SLAM readers something to indulge in.
KP: Whats up big homie, I haven’t seen you since the headband game! How’s it going, tell me about the shoe.
BW: I’m good, launching this new line of sneakers, something I can really stand behind and be proud of. When the guys from Steve and Barry’s came to me with the idea I felt like it was some thing I had to be apart of. We got ‘em in all black and then we got them in a few other flavors for cats that dress like you.
KP:What do you mean “cats who dress like you”?
BW:I just see you wear multiple colors and we got ‘em in all flavors.
KP: Flavors? you made a deal with Steve and Barrys or Ben And Jerrys?
Black forest ?
Strawberry And Creme?
KP: Naw, I know what you mean. If this weren’t your shoe would you buy it? Why?
BW: In a nutshell it’s a good-looking shoe, and it’s affordable! Where are you going to beat that?
KP: So you stand by this shoe?
KP: Would you say it represents Ben Wallace?
BW: Oh yea
KP: So it’s Tough?
KP: It’s durable?
KP: But can it make you block shots and grab rebounds?
BW: Yes, well … I wouldn’t say it helps you block shots but it will give you a nice cushion when you come down.
KP: So they’re comfortable also… all for under 15 bucks?
BW: Yup, doesn’t seem real does it?
KP: Not at all, a’ight lets talk b-ball. You know as a viewer I get hype when I see you block shots, and I know how I feel when I rise up and take one down from a nobody. How does it feel to block a Shaq or a Dirk?
BW: Its kind of tough to describe. A lot of people ask me do I get excited about blocking shots but for me it’s my job its what I do.
KP: You don’t get excited on your job? Sh*t I know I get excited on my job.
BW: Its not necessarily excitement I feel, of course it feels good when you know you’re doing your job well. Every time I step out there I want to play to the best of my ability, knowing that if I go out here and block this shot and we win I know I did my job. I take more pleasure out of winning than anything. If I can get one block and we win vs. 10 and we lose, I’m a happy camper.
KP: What can fans expect this year?
BW: Well I’m going to rep my sneaker to the fullest.
KP: Staying in Chicago forever, right?
BW: I don’t know about forever, but I would like to retire in Chicago. But things don’t always work out the way you plan.
KP: What do you think of Joakim, have you worked out with him yet?
BW: Naw I haven’t worked out with him yet. I definitely think he is going to be one of the pieces that get us to the next level. I like his energy and passion for the game. Any time you take a young player who brings a lot of energy and plays with a lot of passion, it can only help.
KP: I know you’re from Alabama and even though with this whole Jena 6 thing going on in Louisiana, a lot of people say this stuff happens everywhere in the south. When you here about these six black young men who got into this situation because they sat under a white’s only tree how does that make you feel? Is this news to you?
BW: Its tough. I grew up in that type of environment. My mom and pops used to tell me about stuff like that. Sometimes it upsets you but sometimes it’s in the way you handle things that makes the difference. We can’t always ask people to be rational when it’s happening to them. If it was happening to you it’s easy for me to say ‘you have to be rational’ but when it’s happening to you, it’s happening so fast you don’t know what to think or what to expect. For those kids I think it’s unfair that this is taking place in 2007 in America.
There are times when you go through things in your life that are different from others but those aren’t the things that shape your life. I think the way you shape and change you life is the way you deal with situations like this. When it’s all said and done they will learn a valuable lesson that will make them in to productive citizens.