I'm always struck by how many young Piston fans there are nowadays as a result of the current team's continued success. And in light of this being a relatively slow Piston news day, I'd like to take some time out to provide the kee-ids a brief bit of Piston history. Specifically, I'm speaking to all of you born into the late 80s and early 90s, those only able to remember back to the days of Terry Mills in teal (shiver).
Now I may not be able to wax poetic about the days of Dave Bing and Bob Lanier (I'll leave that to the gen before me), but I can spin a yarn or two over the Bad Boys, circa 1988-1990. But rather than listen to me preach, I'll let the below list of quotes -- and one famous poster shot -- begin to tell the tale of the baddest of the Bad. [And please note: as usual, I'm showing a considerable bias towards #40, Bill Laimbeer. But Detroit Bad Boys would be forever grateful for any additional memories/stories/links/etc. that you could provide on any Piston player or era that you hold near and dear. We all share a common love for the Boys in Blue; therefore, if you feel so moved, hit us up in the comments section.]
Without further ado, enjoy.
Henry Schulman, sportswriter, "If you laid Bill Laimbeer, Dennis Rodman, and the rest of the Detroit Pistons end to end in the Mojave Desert, it would be a good idea to leave them there."
Bob Costas and Pat Riley, covering a game with the Pistons, at halftime had this exchange:
Bob Costas: "Well, one look at our Cheap Shot Scoreboard shows the Pistons up 8-1. Rodman is having a fine half with five, and Laimbeer is running second with two. What do you think, Pat?"
Pat Riley: "Well, every time Chicago has the ball, five Pistons are committing fouls. It's as if to say, 'Well, the officials can only call one at a time, so we get away with four.' You know, Michael Jordan said before the game, 'People want to push this kind of basketball out.' The Bulls are 24 minutes away from doing just that."
Former Laker, Kurt Rambis, on Laimbeer: "I assume his parents like him. But you'd have to verify that."
Former Utah Jazz GM, Frank Layden, on Charles Barkley: "I would gladly chip in and pay part of his fines every time he smacks Bill Laimbeer."
Sportswriter Tim Sullivan, writing about the NBA moving the Finals to pay-per-view: "The NBA Finals is worth about $10 per game unless it involves Michael Jordan ($20) or Bill Laimbeer ($2)."
Sportswriter Jan Hubbard: "Detroit center Bill Laimbeer was considering seeking an injuction against the Olympic selection process because he was deprived of a chance to make the team. Laimbeer said that as a tax-paying citizen, he should have had the opportunity to try out for the team. It would have been great if he could have tried out for the team, because then he would have been excluded on merit rather than logic."
Ted Davis, longtime announcer for the Milwaukee Bucks, on Laimbeer: "Dirtiest player: Bill Laimbeer. The dirtiest of the dirty. Actually tried to hurt his opponent. Actually tried to hurt his teammates in practice. Was WWF before WWF was cool."
Davis, again: "Set the best screens: Two. Laimbeer would hit you with elbows and knees. Rick Mahorn, the size of a Winnebago."
Legendary Piston coach, Chuck Daly, on Laimbeer."He would drive people insane and then just walk away. He was like Gandhi."
We've posted this one before, but it merits repeating:
Letter from Charles Barkley to Bill Laimbeer, I think in 1989:
What you see above is just a sampling of the vitriol that most non-Piston fans held for Laimbeer. Hell, Isiah's broken hand in 1993 was a result of punching Laimbeer in the head...from behind...after Laimbeer had elbowed Isiah in the ribs during practice, so even his own teammates couldn't stand him at times. He was Public Enemy Number 1 in the league during the years the Pistons were on top, and he reveled in the role. And as fans, we ate it up; because on the court, he may very well have been the devil incarnate -- but hey, he was our devil incarnate.
[Edit: Natalie, over at Need 4 Sheed, has posted her thoughts on the original Bad Boys as well, including a great photo collage and video clip. Check out the shots of Laimbeer, wearing the mask before the mask was cool. Also, apparently the folks over at PistonsForum.com have been discussing this topic as well. Glad to see that the memory of these OGs hasn't faded.]
Previously on Detroit Bad Boys:
Keep your hands off my hair-band