12 On Tour: NBA Champion "Big Ben" Hails from Lowndes County

It seems that most small towns have a sports hero that everyone seems to follow and Lowndes County is no exception. Around here, it's all about a big man known as "Big Ben".

He's one of the most exciting players in the game and he's hard to miss, just look for the hair and the smile. But before he was an NBA champ, Big Ben was just Ben Wallace.

Wallace sat in Ms. Cosby's math class at Central High School in Lowndes County more than 15-years ago. "I remember how quiet he was and he never gave up...Always striving to do his best," remembers Gwendolyn Cosby.

Ben's hard work in math and on the court paid off. Recently, Central High School retired his number 44 jersey. Wallace says, "They say good things come to those who wait, I thought it would happen one day, and it did."

When Ben's on TV Lownes County is watching, and that includes a man who played against Wallace in high school. Once a cross town rival, now Tito Baker is the head basketball coach at Central, "I remember "Big Ben" was like, 'you don't want to bring it inside', he'd block your shot and he's like that now in the NBA," says Baker.

Coach Baker says the best part about wallace is that he's humble, and a hard worker and a true role model adding, "He gives real motivation to the kids, they see he did it, and they see they may have the ability to play basketball or do something great academically as well."

"I tell my boys everyday when they're about to quit, I say look at Ben he never gave up and he made it."

NBA champion, four time "Defensive Player of the Year" and a man Lowndes County can be proud of both on and off the court.

This year Wallace started the season with the Chicago Bulls, and weeks ago he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. If you're watching a Cavs game just look for number 4.