Former NBA player John Wallace visited North Park Academy, spoke to students

john-wallace-speakingFormer NBA forward John Wallace has visited the Buffalo’s North Park Middle Academy, and spoke to the students there.

Wallace played for the Knicks in 1996-1997, and 1999-00 seasons, mostly coming off the bench as a back-up power forward.

He averaged 6.5 ppg for NYK during the 99-00 season.

His career averages are 381 games (45 started), 7.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 16.1 mpg. Wallace retired from the NBA after the 2003-2004 season.

Wallace’s life after basketball is a full slate: public relations and consulting work with the New York Knicks, the team that drafted him out of Syracuse University in 1996, insurance work and a board member of the Petro River Oil Corporation.

His oldest son, John, Jr., attends Hillsborough Community College in Tampa while his 16-year-old son, Joey, is one of the top young point guards in Connecticut.

It was motivational speaking that brought Wallace to Buffalo on Monday as Vice President of Winning Because I Tried, a company he runs along with former University at Buffalo guard Modie Cox.

“I’m just enjoying life,” Wallace said. “Life is good.”

For Wallace, there’s always time to talk about basketball, like Dwyane Wade’s first practice as a pro when he dunked on 6-foot-9, 255-pound Brian Grant.

“He jumped over him,” Wallace said. “I remember myself, Samaki Walker and Lamar Odom were sitting in the room afterwards and we were like, ‘Did we just see the next Jordan?’ No one knew about this kid.”

Carmelo Anthony is another lively topic.

“I know I’m slightly biased but I felt like Carmelo Anthony should have been MVP for sure,” he said. “You take him off the Knicks and I don’t think they’re even a playoff team. You could take LeBron off Miami they’re still going to make the playoffs, they’re still a really good formidable team with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and the pieces that they have down in Miami.”

Wallace said Anthony, who averaged a career best 28.7 points this season, is an underrated defender.

“I’ve never seen a guy catch so much flack for being so good,” Wallace said.

“Carmelo Anthony is a bonafide prolific scorer and with the addition of Mike Woodson and some of the schemes he’s put in, he’s played really good defense this year. It’s not guys are lighting him up. It’s funny when guys say, ‘He can’t play defense,’ but how many times do you see guys say, ‘Let’s iso ’Melo.’ It doesn’t happen.”

“You can make the argument all you want that he’s not a defender but last time I checked, even when he’s playing against [Kevin] Durant and LeBron, they’re not just iso-ing ’Melo. ’Melo is strong and tough and he’s not just going to let you score, and on the other end he’s beating you up while he’s scoring.”



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