Jack McCloskey, who served as Detroit Pistons general manager from 1979 to 1992 and helped build the Bad Boys teams who delivered two NBA championships, died today at 91.
McCloskey, known as “Trader Jack” for his aggressive and successful trades on behalf of the Pistons, made nine straight playoffs seasons from 1984-92. His name was “retired” with a banner raised at the Palace of Auburn Hills in 2008.
Simply put, without McCloskey there would be no Bad Boys. Trader Jack made moves to acquire Bill Laimbeer from Cleveland, Rick Mahorn from the Bullets, James Edwards from Phoenix, Vinnie Johnson from Seattle and Mark Aguirre from Dallas. But McCloskey was also a shrewd talent evaluator and drafted well. He selected Isiah Thomas second overall in 1981, but his best moves came later in the draft. Thomas’ backcourt mate and fellow Hall of Famers Joe Dumars 18th overall in 1985 and Dennis Rodman in the second round in 1986. He also hired Chuck Daly to make it all work. The Pistons behind Daly’s leadership won back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990 and built a legacy behind the Bad Boys that still thrives today, as this blog can attest.