Based on attendance numbers at the Palace these days, it’s safe to say many Detroiters have kind of forgotten about the Pistons.
But as ESPN’s 30 for 30 reminds us, back during the Bad Boys era in the late-1980s, the Pistons were once the hottest ticket in town and their Raiders-of-the-hard court attitude was a national sensation.
They shut down Jordan, bullied Bird, and finally bested Magic’s Lakers with a sweep of the 1989 NBA Finals. The Pistons repeated as NBA champions a season later, thanks to Vinnie Johnson’s clutch basket with 00:00.07 left in the game to clinch a game-five win over the Portland Trailblazers.
The Pistons road to back-to-game championships was almost as epic as their championship runs. The Eastern Conference Finals battles with the Celtics, Bill Laimbeer’s fights with Charles Barkley, the Adrian Dantley-Mark Aguirre trade, the Bad Boys defined an era of Detroit sports.
We dug into our archives for classic Local 4 footage of interviews and reports about those teams, what we found, well, let’s just say the 80s were an amazing time.
These are all from after Game 7 of the 1988 NBA Finals, which the Pistons lost to the Los Angeles Lakers. They were still a year away from winning it all.
The video above shows the Pistons and Lakers before and after Game 7 at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif.
We also asked our Facebook fans to share their favorite Bad Boys memories. As Bernie might say, we’ve got highlights:
Larry May: Of all the Professional Championship teams in Detroit sports history the Bad Boys ('88-89) probably was the most "charismatic" team ever ...
Steve Cutlip: I always appreciated the Mahorn-Laimbeer bromance.
Steven Roy: My best memory is wearing my bad boys shirts on vacation in Boston the following summer. I could feel the love.
Charles Green: I'm a Celtics Fan...my favorite memory of the Bad Boys... 87 East Finals Game 5... The Chief [Robert Parish] hammering Laimbeer and of course BIRD STEALING THE BALL #CelticsPride
Tennielle Coleman: Me and Daddy were watching when they won ... everybody in the house was asleep but us and we were in the living room jumping up and down celebrating in very loud whispers lol ...he's the reason I'm so into sports today!!!