Special thanks to all who participated in our most recent Detroit Bad Boys poll asking the rather difficult question, "Who was your favorite Bad Boy?"
Well (with 135 total votes), the results are in, and I'm a bit shocked to report that your overwhelming choice -- with 30% of the final tally -- is my personal choice: Bill Laimbeer. Why shocked? Well, after running close with Laimbeer for the first couple days of voting, I expected Joe D to get a bump from his announced selection to the Basketball Hall of Fame. But alas, his backcourt mate and (let's be honest here) probably best Piston player of all-time, Isiah Thomas, made a late run to steal the second spot behind Lambs. This shouldn't be a complete surprise. Despite his attempts of late to sabotage his own great legacy, I have a hunch that more than 22% of Piston fans during the run of the Bad Boys would have listed Zeke as their guy. It remains very sad that Isiah is not a part of the organization in some manner, though Piston fans have to be extremely grateful that Joe D -- and not Isiah -- is their current team President.
Other notable trends:
After receiving roughly a single vote over the first day of tallying, fans seemed to remember Dennis Rodman as he was in the Piston Blue, the lanky, energetic, tattooless second round draft pick out of Southeastern Oklahoma State. The Worm -- before the multi-colored hair, before the cross-dressing, and before the movie "Double Team" (with Jean-Claude Van-Damme), perfected the art of rebounding and abhorrent foul shooting far before Big Ben made it cool. And he held a place in our hearts for his hard work on the court and his shyness off it. Some also might remember with glee that he literally gave Scottie Pippen headaches. Good times...
Sadly, neither Rodman's "X-Factor" partner John "Spider" Salley (anyone remember their crossover high five?) or Mark Aguirre received a single vote from the selection committee. As for the "others receiving votes" footnote: Vinnie Johnson and Rick Mahorn both made respectable showings, taking in about 7% of the vote each.
Finally -- in the spirit of full-disclosure, I feel compelled to admit that I voted twice in this poll (once from work, once from home), which enabled me to split my vote between Laimbeer (obviously) and James Edwards. (My vote ended up being the only cast for Buddha.) Even though he annoyed me by joining the legion of former Pistons to take up with Jordan and the Bulls for a title run, Edwards was an amazing anomaly -- a 7-footer with a sweet fadeaway and a fu manchu mustache. While it had to be tough to replace a fan-favorite like Mahorn in the Piston starting five after Mahorn was selected by the T-Wolves in the '89 expansion draft, Buddha gave the team a low-post threat to start every game. His impact on that 1990 championship team is often understated due to the overall collection of talent, but he definitely brought his own style and flair to the Bad Boys.
Was there anyone on that team who wasn't a character?