So let’s take a few moments to remember better days, aided by the Original Bad Boy himself Isiah Thomas.
If you’re a Pistons fan who grew up watching the Bad Boys in the 1980s, this interview is dedicated to you. I was 11-12 years old when I began watching the Pistons on a regular basis during the mid-80s, and as a smallish kid playing point guard for my school team, Isiah Thomas was my idol.
I emulated his style of play as best I could. And, of course, I watched in awe as he shot teardrop floaters over the outstretched arms of 7-foot defenders in the paint, made ridiculous no-look passes that caused heads to swivel and took over games during crunch time.
So it was a great honor to be given the chance to chat with Isiah over the weekend. Before the All-Star break, (my former employer from many years ago) Turner Sports reached out and offered an interview with one of their on-air talent. Naturally, I requested Zeke. But the timing didn’t pan out, so they kindly reached out again last week and this time, it worked out beautifully.
While I didn’t know Blake was going to miss the entire series with the Milwaukee Bucks at the time of the interview, I wasn’t about to ask Isiah for his prediction (don’t ask questions you don’t want to hear answered). Instead, I used the interview as an opportunity to ask him a few questions I’ve had for roughly 30 years, along with others about mindset and rivalries in today’s NBA.
A few things you’ll learn within:
- What’s the truth behind his famous handshake with Kevin McHale at the end of the 1988 Eastern Conference Finals? (I had it completely wrong)
- What went through Isiah’s mind when he injured his ankle during Game 6 of the 1988 NBA Finals against the Lakers, before turning in a 25-point third quarter on one leg?
- What does he think of Andre Drummond’s development and growth this year?
- What made the Bad Boys Pistons so consistently locked-in and focused during their run?
- Does Isiah think there are any rivalries in the NBA today that compare to the Bad Boys’ rivalries with the Celtics, Lakers and Bulls?
- Who would Isiah like to see at small forward for the Pistons? (I laughed out loud)
- How big of a Pistons fan is Isiah today? And how many regular-season Pistons games does he watch? (you may be surprised)
Full disclosure: I’ve met many professional athletes throughout the years and don’t get starstruck anymore, but I had an absolute ball talking with Isiah and my heart was beating a bit faster than normal. Despite a decade in the journalism biz, I‘ve never done a one-on-one interview with a professional athlete (I was a producer, not a reporter), so this is more of an informal chat.
And after thanking Isiah for his time on Twitter, this made me smile even more:
Enjoy a little sunshine on this cloudy day.