Shannon Shelton has a great article in today's Detroit Free Press about fans who held onto their classic Detroit Bad Boys t-shirts from back in the day:
The Pistons were the most feared team in the NBA in 1989 and their fans had the T-shirt to match.
The sports world hadn't seen anything like it before. Black shirts with a menacing skull-and-bones motif centered on an orange basketball, framed with silver-gray and white lettering that embodied the character of a team in three defiant words:
"Detroit Bad Boys."
You couldn't call yourself a proper Detroiter unless you had one, and it seemed everyone did in 1989 and 1990.
So I was impressed when I saw the T-shirts on Ken Grace and Scott Brent at the Palace on Tuesday for Game 1 of the Pistons-Heat series.
Grace, 54, is a financial planner who had the foresight to hold on to his shirt when everyone else was dumping theirs like bad habits. Brent, 27, from Royal Oak, has a shirt in such pristine condition, you'd think he bought it yesterday.
And it says something about both men that they're able to fit into a 17-year-old piece of clothing. I'd bet some of the Bad Boys themselves -- Joe Dumars, Bill Laimbeer, Rick Mahorn -- might have a little difficulty today putting on one of those vintage shirts they inspired.
You better believe that I still have mine. Like Dumars, Laimbeer and Mahorn, though, I haven't been able to fit in it for years. I did bring it out of storage for a friend to wear when we went to Game 5 of the 2004 Finals, and it'll be coming out again this year should we make it that far. Now that I think about it, perhaps the fact it remained packed away last year was the reason we lost...
Does anyone else out there still own one of those original shirts? If you don't, you might be happy to know that I've seen these things pop up on eBay now and then -- such as this auction, which goes until June 1.
What I'd really like is another one of those classic Bill Laimbeer/Rick Mahorn posters. I used to have one, but after hanging up in my old bedroom for years and then making two moves with me in college, it became so torn and tattered that I eventually had to just toss it. You don't even want to know what I'd do to get another one in mint condition. Does anyone have a lead on where I can find a re-print?
Bad Boys shirts still good [Detroit Free Press]