John Wallace, Former Knick
by Benjamin Fang
Nov 14, 2017 | 566 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
John Wallace just can’t help but smile.

A former first-round draft pick with the New York Knicks, Wallace now works with the Knicks organization doing fan development. He loves working with kids and teaching them about the game.

A Rochester native, Wallace played four seasons at Syracuse University, culminating with a Final Four run that took the Orange to the National Championship game.

“Syracuse is the greatest school on earth,” he said. “I had a great time. I always tell people, no one had more fun than me at Syracuse.”

Taking a trip down memory lane, Wallace recalled playing in the Carrier Dome, eating at the popular commercial strip off campus and, of course, partying.

“Your freshman and sophomore years, you have a great time,” Wallace said. “Then junior and senior year, you’re like, ‘I have to figure out what I’m doing in life.’”

The Knicks drafted Wallace with the 18th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. He played for New York for two years, and four other basketball teams in his seven years in the league.

“There’s nothing like it,” Wallace said, when asked what it was like to play in Madison Square Garden. “It really is the Mecca of basketball.

“I can remember my very first time walking in there as a college player, my first time as a pro. It was always a special place,” he added. “To actually have my jersey in that locker room of the Garden was very special.”

After playing two years overseas, he retired in 2005. Wallace then had what he described as a 15-minute conversation with Jeff Van Gundy, his former coach, to rejoin the Knicks organization.

“It was a very easy decision,” he said. “The Junior Knicks, the Garden of Dreams and all the clinics and youth organizations the Knicks have, I want to continue to be a part of all that.”
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