DAR Sports: The Detroit Pistons "Bad Boys" Era

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal 
-The late 80s was such a definitive time for basketball. The coming of Michael Jordan, the evolution of Charles Barkley, the power of Hakeem Olujawon, the dominance of the Lakers, the ending of the Celtics era, and many other players that would set the world on fire. With all this going on, in the midst of the Lakers and Celtics trading championships and Michael Jordan winning scoring titles, there was a new team rising up to overtake the kings. The Detroit Pistons were building a championship worthy team with some great draft decisions and a few vital trades. By the time we reached 1987, the Pistons were THIS close to overtaking the Celtics as champions of the East before suffering a tough loss in the Conference Finals. With Bill Laimbeer, Isiah Thomas, Rick Mahorn, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman, Adrian Dantley, John Salley and more, they were ready to take the throne.

It would be the next season where the Pistons finally took off and captured the division title and made the 1988 NBA Finals. With the weight of last year's loss in the Conference Finals still stinging them, the Pistons came back and defeated the Celtics in the Conference Finals, ending the long dominance of the Celtics. They would then go full throttle against the Lakers, who was ending their big run after so many titles and Finals appearances. After taking a 3-2 lead in the Finals, the Pistons would end up losing despite one of the greatest performances ever from Isiah Thomas in game 6 while battling a terrible injury. After the Lakers closed it out in game 7, the Pistons would be ready the following year. They were ready to take the throne and finally hold their trophy high. Today, we talk about the Bad Boys, the Pistons and the making of one of the greatest teams we've ever had the pleasure of witnessing. Let's get into it.

Ruthless. Vicious. Hardcore. What about the Bad Boy Pistons can't already be said? This team was the definition of physical. They wore you down for a full game. They tried to rip your heart out of your chest.

It all started in 1981 when the Pistons were stumbling out of the 70s and they needed someone to turn their fortunes around. They got it by drafting legendary PG Isaiah Thomas. After acquiring their franchise player, the Pistons turned around and got Bill Laimbeer and Vinnie Johnson. The foundation for the next decade was set as these 3 men remained on the team for the rest of the 80s. After a tough few years of early playoff exits, Thomas and head coach Chuck Daly had had enough. They decided it was time to be more physical. What followed from there is what led them to back to back championships and etched in history.

The Bad Boy era Pistons are the team that made me want to be a Pistons fan. MJ was my favorite player as a kid and my parents showed me highlights of some of his early years and the thing that stuck out to me was that the Pistons were really the only team to put some real heat on him. Their physical play on offense and defense made them a force to be reckoned with in the late 80's to early 90's. From Isiah, to Rodman, to Laimbeer this was a team that not only had the physical tools, but the basketball tools as well. They were a very skilled team and their toughness kind of pushed that to the side, but this was a team that could score as well as put you on your ass.

Unfortunately, Jordan figured them out and put a nail in the coffin of the Bad Boys in 1991. They are remembered at that time for walking off the court without shaking hands and it put a black eye so to speak on the Bad Boys to close out their run...not that they gave a shit. After that, the team fell to the wayside through retirements and trades that caused the franchise to suffer. However, the Bad Boy Pistons should be remembered for more than how they ended. Their attitude made them the most hated team in those years. But that attitude shouldn't overshadow the impact they had on the game. That tough style of play became a hallmark of Pistons basketball that was resurrected in certain aspects during the Pistons' mid 00's run and the Bad Boys will continue to be known as one of the most impactful squads in NBA history.

The "Bad Boys" Pistons was that team that you either loved or hated. They brought a style of basketball that's just unheard of in today's game. They're also one of the more underrated teams of all time too. The Pistons had basically all of it, whether it be physical play of Bill Lambert and Rick Mahorn, amazing point guard play of Isiah Thomas, and scoring ability of Joe Dumars and Mark Aguirre. Let's not forget a young Dennis Rodman was on the team too. While their dynasty was starting up, it happened to come at the tail end of the Celtics and Lakers dynasties (although it took more than one try to beat them). Let's not forget the fits they have a young upstart Chicago Bulls team with Micheal Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

The Bad Boys Era was one that rocked the basketball world. They did one hell of a job playing the villain of the NBA with their physical style of play and winning while doing it. Sandwiched in between the Bird/Magic era and The Jordan era, the Pistons are a team where they really don't get much credit as they deserve. Especially for winning 2 titles in 3 trips to the NBA Finals consecutively.

Detroit Pistons. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when the Pistons are mentioned? It definitely ain't the 2004 Detroit Pistons. Yeah. You know who I'm talking about. The Bad Boys. The most physical team to ever play. Isiah Thomas. Dennis Rodman. Bill Laimbeer. This team was hated by every single fan in America that wasn't a Detroit Pistons fan. They were tough, mean, physical, nasty, and hard hitting players that were winners. 2 Championships and 3 NBA Finals appearances in a row to show for it. Winning and toughness was the style of basketball the Bad Boys played. They were willing to do ANYTHING, literally, ANYTHING, to win a basketball game. Tooth for tooth, nail for nail, these Bad Boys were scraping 48 minutes a night with every team and never backed down from anybody.

Dennis Rodman became one of the league's premier big men, in rebounding and low post defense. He was truly an unstoppable force in the paint, and is now considered the greatest rebounder of all time by many. However, his success caused a controversial trade. Adrian Dantley, a Hall Of Famer, was traded for a childhood friend of Thomas, Mark Aguirre. Dantley was upset his minutes went down because Rodman had become so good, and Thomas apparently got him shipped out of Detroit. Joe Dumars was very upset about this trade, and it caused disfunction in the Pistons locker room. Still, they won 2 titles, and will forever hold a legacy in the history of the NBA.

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal
-The thing I love the most about the Pistons in the Bad Boys Era is the reckless abandon they played with. Not to be upstaged or beaten completely by any team, they made you earn a win. After finally getting beyond the Celtics, and finally figuring out the Lakers by sweeping them in the Finals, their dominance is always revered by true fans of the sports. What made them so great is that they were a team. Sure, Isiah would be seen as the greatest of them all, but it was truly a team effort. While the Celtics are remembered very much by casual fans for Bird, and the Lakers are remembered for Magic, as the Bulls are remembered for Jordan, the Pistons are remembered simply as the "Bad Boys". The fact that the team is remembered more so than just one star on the team says a lot about what they did collectively. Isiah has gone on record to say they were like brothers and that in order to really beat the team, you had to take them all down. The Pistons came up in the ranks fighting side by side, and when it all fell down in 1991, they went down side by side as well. In between the Bird/Magic era and the Jordan era, there was a 3 year period of true dominance and all around greatness and it'll be forever known as the era of the Bad Boys, the era of the Pistons.



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