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MANRAM!
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Gerald Wallace Arrested

Wallace meets police, then greets his fanbase
By JAMIE KIZZIRE
BIRMINGHAM POST-HERALD
The cameras, the reporters and the fans clamoring for Gerald Wallace's autograph reminded Janice Towns of another Alabama celebrity.
"It's like Charles Barkley coming home," Towns said.

Towns met Wallace Friday when he made a public appearance at the Finish Line shoe store at Century Plaza. The Sacramento Kings forward was in Birmingham promoting the Reebok Above The Rim shoe line.

The event was a homecoming for the Childersburg native, who got to meet and greet fans who have watched the former Alabama star compete in the NBA and win second place in this year's slam-dunk contest. Wallace was the Kings' first-round draft pick last season after playing one season at Alabama.

That homecoming was marred by an early morning visit to the Childersburg Police Department. According to Childersburg police, Wallace turned himself into police at 8 a.m. Friday morning, after learning a warrant had been issued for his arrest on a charge of third-degree assault. Police would provide no further details Friday night.

He was processed and released on bond, and faces an August court date.

As fans got their autograph and left, others arrived to take their place.

Wearing a silver and white Reebok jersey and knee-length black denim shorts, Wallace chatted with fans as he signed photos, T-shirts and basketballs. TV camera crews buzzed about the crowd filming almost every autograph and handshake.

Wallace played in 54 games as a rookie reserve last season for Sacramento, averaging 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds per game. The Kings pushed the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers to seven games in the Western Conference finals.

Fellow Childersburg native Sheryl Banks-Foster took the opportunity to meet Wallace. She already knows his parents.

"He has the personality of his mother," said Foster, 43. "He has this sophisticated way of carrying himself."

When Foster described what it's like watching Wallace play in the NBA, a smile spread across her face.

"The volume goes up and all eyes are on him," she said.

Yet Foster searched for words to describe what it was like meeting him.

"What all can you say about a superstar?" she asked.

Despite his imposing size at 6-feet 7-inches and 215 pounds, Wallace was soft-spoken and concise when answering questions from reporters.

"It's pretty fun to come back home," he said. "You get to see a lot of family and hang out. It's good to see a lot of old friends."

Wallace is one of several NBA players endorsing the shoe line, which retails between $69 and $89, depending on style. Corey Waiters, who got an autograph, was impressed with Wallace's down-to-earth demeanor.

"He didn't have a prima donna attitude," said Waiters, 27. "It's nice to know a person like him is giving back to the community."

The meet-and-greet Friday was the second time Darius Cook of Birmingham has met Wallace.

The first time was a year ago, before he signed with the NBA. Wallace autographed a basketball for Cook during that meeting.

This time Wallace signed another basketball for Cook, 20.

"So, now I have one from before he was in the NBA and one after he was in the NBA," he said.

"It's good to see someone from Alabama doing something good besides Charles Barkley."
 
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