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DBB Countdown: Adrian Dantley’s No. 45

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There are On Sunday there were 45 days left until the Pistons kick off the 2008-09 season.

Adrian Dantley was with the Pistons through all of the heartbreak of losing to the Celtics in 1987 and the Lakers in 1988. In a perfect world he would've stayed long enough to pick up a ring or two, but the Pistons traded him at the deadline in 1989.

In the March 6, 1989 issue of Sports Illustrated, Jack McCallum wrote about the trade:

"I felt funny, kind of confused and disoriented out there," said Dantley after his Dallas debut. That's how he felt about the trade, too. Some of the Pistons felt the same way, but Dantley wasn't the subject of the angry good riddances that marked Aguirre's departure from the Mavericks. Even [Isiah] Thomas, who was obviously happy to have Aguirre aboard, could not publicly rejoice, considering the widespread belief that it was he who had pushed the buttons. Thomas's backcourt mate, Joe Dumars, was deeply saddened that Dantley, who had been his best friend among his teammates, was gone, but he held his tongue about the deal. In a gesture of respect, Dumars requested a DANTLEY 45 jersey as a keepsake.

Other Pistons were hopeful that Aguirre's offense, more multifaceted than Dantley's post-up game, would pay dividends, but they were also frankly apprehensive about the loss of Dantley, whom they called Teacher in recognition of his sagacious ways.

And no one felt more ambivalent about the trade than Detroit general manager Jack McCloskey, who closed the deal for the Pistons.

"I like and admire Adrian so much," said McCloskey. "The way he went about his job, kept himself in shape. He's a real pro. Adrian keeps people at arm's length, but I always felt we had a mutual respect." McCloskey shook his head. "I guess that might be lost now."

Hall of Famer Adrian Dantley / YouTube
And the winner is ... / Sports Illustrated