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Riley admits to phantom foul that cost Pistons championship in 1988

Only took you 26 years there, Riles!


Being only six-years-old at the time, I can't say I was personally hurt when Bill Laimbeer was called for a foul on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 14 seconds left and the Pistons up by one against the Lakers in game six of the NBA Finals in 1988.

But as I grew into my fandom you could tell the scar it left on fans of the Pistons, even with Detroit winning back to back championships in 1989 and 1990. It was a great two-year run, but if Detroit was able to win in '88 and make it three in a row, perhaps NBA fans would consider the Bad Boys era a true dynasty.

Instead a bogus call meant the Pistons couldn't close out the Lakers in game six and they eventually lost game seven. And while it took 26 years, Pat Riley has finally admitted the refs gift-wrapped his Lakers team the game ... well, sort of.

Riley was delivering an epic post-season rant fresh off his Miami Heat's loss in the finals.

"In 1988, when we got Detroit, and Kareem hit that phantom sky hook foul, he had to make the two free throws," Riley said during his news conference Thursday. "He didn't choke. He did not choke on the free throws. He had to make them. He made them. And that led us to a seventh game and a win. But the next year, Detroit came back and swept us."

All I heard was, "Blah blah blah, PHANTOM SKY HOOK FOUL, blah blah blah.

Unfortunately, I can't find the clip but this was a key piece of the recent ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Bad Boys. When the former players talk about that foul you can feel the anguish in  their voice.

Dredging all this back up again, I'm wondering if Pistons fans should root for the Heat to stay together and slowly decline into oblivion or if they should root for the Heat to be broken apart and have to go through a painful rebuilding process while LeBron, Bosh and maybe Wade try and catch on or create new title contenders.