However, journalism wasn’t Wallace’s initial
career ambition. A series of not-so-near-misses
eventually led him into the field. Originally, his
quest was to replace Bobby Brown and become
the new fifth member of the R&B group New
Edition. But actual singing and dancing ability
was required, and the job went to fellow D.C.
native Johnny Gill.
Wallace’s ambition later shifted when, as a low-
level Division I basketball recruit, he headed to
Grambling State University aiming to become the
first NBA lottery pick from a historically black
But that distinction went to Jackson State’s
Lindsey Hunter, who was drafted by Detroit in
1993. That same year, Wallace’s college
basketball career ended before it got a chance
to begin, thanks to scrub-level skills and a
coaching change at Grambling.
Then came the epiphany: If you can’t beat them,
cover them. Wallace began writing for the
student newspaper, The Gramblinite, and would
later work summer jobs or internships at the
Washington Post, Birmingham News, San Antonio-
Express News and Newhouse News Service in
Since leaving Grambling, Wallace has also
worked for the Tallahassee Democrat and Jackson
Clarion-Ledger. He has covered education,
politics, crime and sports. His work has been
honored with national, regional and state
Wallace joined ESPN.com October 2010 (after
working at The Miami Herald for four years) and
resides in Broward County with his wife and their
About Michael Wallace
Photo Credit: AP File
Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/
Art Credit: Gamble
Photo Credit: Doug Benc/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Jan-Michael
From legendary Eddie Robinson, the winningest coach
in college football history, to 2006 NBA Finals MVP
Dwyane Wade, Michael Wallace has covered some of
the biggest newsmakers in sports over the past
The names. The games. The historic events. The
issues on and off the court. The drama in and out of
court. From Jordan to Tyson, Reggie Bush to Bobby
Bowden, O.J. to T.O. – if a press pass got you access,
chances are Wallace was there with a laptop, tape
recorder, pad and pen.
Michael Wallace gets ready
for work at the Miami Heat vs.
Philadelphia 76ers game.
Grambling coach Eddie Robinson won
an NCAA record 408 games in a
career that spanned six decades.
Wallace covered Robinson’s final five
seasons, including his historic 400th
win in 1995.
Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal led
the Heat to an NBA title in 2005-06, but
injuries rendered the two stars spectators
for much of the controversial 2006-07
season, Wallace’s first on the beat.
Sylvester Croom’s hiring in
2003 as the SEC’s first African-
American football coach made
him a national figure. He still
insists maroon, Mississippi
State’s primary color, is the
only color that matters.
The 2006 arrival of Heisman Trophy
winner Reggie Bush provided Saints fans
in the Gulf Coast a diversion in the
extended aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Wallace covered the rebuilding efforts of
the team and region.
Michael Jordan was the greatest athlete
Wallace said he’s ever interviewed. But
that interview came in 2001, well after
Jordan’s prime with the Bulls and while he
was finishing up with the Wizards.
One of the most fascinating interviews for
Wallace was Tony Dungy’s 90-minute media
session after his Colts won the 2007 AFC
title. One game later, he became the first
African-American coach to win a Super Bowl.
An unexpected meeting with O.J.
Simpson at a hotel in Shreveport
led to a story by Wallace that was
picked up nationally in 1997, two
years after Simpson’s
controversial acquittal on murder
Doug Williams led the Redskins to the 1987
Super Bowl as the first African-American
quarterback to accomplish that feat. He
returned to his alma mater at Grambling to
replace Robinson as coach in 1997 while
Wallace covered the beat.
Eli Manning, the No. 1 pick in the
2003 NFL Draft, emerged from big
brother Peyton’s shadow during his
final three seasons at Ole Miss.
Wallace covered Manning’s record-
breaking run with the Rebels.
As was the case with Jordan,
Wallace caught up with former
champ Mike Tyson at the end
of his career – and on the night
of his final victory in Memphis
Photo Credit :AP
Photo Credit: AP
Wallace is in his fourth season covering the Miami Heat and the NBA for The
Miami Herald. It’s a dream job for the Washington, D.C. native, whose
mission is to reach out and help guide other aspiring journalists along the
way to their goals in a field that sorely needs diversity, fresh viewpoints
and new ideas.
Wallace started his career out of college covering education and politics in
1997 at The Times in Shreveport, Louisiana. He has since worked his way
through the ranks, covering events ranging from presidential campaigns to
Olympic Trials, the Million Man March to Hurricane Katrina, Eddie Robinson’s
historic 400th victory to Tony Dungy becoming the first African-American
coach in the NFL to win a Super Bowl.
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