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Pistons’ Ben Wallace grabs a rebound past Orlando Magic’s Pat Burke during the fourth quarter April 30, 2003 in Game 5 of the first round of the playoffs at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Jay Wright used to sell tickets to games in the long-defunct United States Football League. Ben Wallace was passed over by every NBA team, some of them twice. Yolanda Griffith got a job repossessing cars so she could take care of herself and her infant daughter while playing community college basketball.

For all of them, those days are long gone. Basketball’s highest honor has come their way.

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