ESPN’s 30 for 30: Bad Boys Remembered


What if I told you they used to play defense in the NBA?

We are using the term defense lightly. The Detroit Pistons of the late 1980s and early 1990s brought a brand of basketball to the professional ranks that literally choked the competition. Their physical style of play earned them back to back NBA championships in 1989 and 1990. It also earned them a nickname, Bad Boys.

The Bad Boys Pistons squads advanced to three consecutive NBA finals (1988-1990), and provided the bridge between the Larry Bird/Magic Johnson era to the Jordan era in the NBA. Lead by their floor general and team captain, Isiah Thomas, the Pistons rarely backed down from a fight. The Pistons core consisted of Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Joe Dumars, and Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson. Prior to making North Korea visits and wearing a wedding dress, Dennis Rodman provided some ferocious defense and rebounding for the team.

Patrolling the sidelines was their head coach, Chuck Daly. Daly coached the Pistons from 1983-1992, brought home gold as head coach of the 1992 original “U.S. Dream Team” that stormed through Barcelona, and to this day remains the last coach to take an Ivy League team (University of Pennsylvania) to the NCAA Final Four in 1979.

Their fights were legendary: Laimbeer vs. Barkley, Laimbeer vs. Bird, Laimbeer vs. Parish, and if you are an NBA fan too young to recall or old enough to remember the Bad Boys, do yourself a favor and watch another fabulous offering from ESPN Sports.

Now celebrating the 25th anniversary of the team’s first championship, ESPN’s “30 for 30″ documentary “Bad Boys” will air on Thursday April 17th at 8PM.

John Avicolli

Capable of having complete conversations in movie dialogue, lover of all things pop culture, in-house 80's subject matter expert, and one hell of a model American

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  • Double_Up

    Still, the Pistons could rebound, shoot and pass (once Dantley was gone). They didn’t win by scoring 70, they scored as much as anybody. But they didn’t avoid the labels.