Remembering the 'Bad Boy Pistons'

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A 30 for 30 ESPN documentary is being aired tonight entitled 'Bad Boys', it chronicles the era that was defined by the Detroit Pistons squad of the late 80's and early 90's known as the 'Bad Boys'.

In recognition of one of the most dominant, fierce and controversial basketball teams to ever be rolled out onto the hardwood, we felt it would be a good idea to commemorate the 'Bad Boys' in our own way.

The NBA struggled in its early years of existence, unable to compete with the major markets such as the NFL, the league needed to find something to ignite its popularity. 

Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are often credited with the emergence of the NBA and their rivalry throughout the 80's signalled the explosion of popularity of professional basketball.

Michael Jordan is often widely considered the greatest basketball player of all time and his dominance throughout the 90's inspired countless generations and he became the first global NBA superstar. 

These three players are synonymous with their teams, Jordan of the Bulls, Magic and the Lakers and Bird with the Celtics. These three teams are the most meaningful through the years of the NBA's major apex of popularity.

The Lakers were a conventional dynasty, the Celtics were finely tuned, team ethos-orientated squad and the Bulls held the greatest player of all time and were arguably the best team to ever grace the NBA.

By now you're probably wondering where I'm going with this, there was a fourth team that escapes the imagination of many experts, almost built through a dark underworld in the league and mentioned in whispers as if forgotten by the archives of the NBA, they were the Bad Boy Pistons.

They were the bridge and stopgap between the 80's and 90's, they were extreme in their capacities, ruthless in their mentality and couldn't care what the heir-achy of the league thought of them.

The talent was undeniable but their methods were questionable, they stretched the laws of the game and were branded dirty and rough but it just heightened the mystique of the Pistons as an intimidating opponent.

The 'Bad Boy' Pistons changed basketball, they altered the way it was possible to win a championship and they did so in a manner that made anyone outside of Detroit loathe them.

There stars were endearing yet infuriating, led by the diminutive point guard Isiah Thomas who was their most talented player.

Thomas was lightning quick with an incredible handle of the basketball, he was fearless driving to the whole and had the heart of a champion. Although there was another side to Thomas, the competitor he was, as the leader of the team he would bark the unnerving orders to his teammates on how to disrupt, antagonise and frankly get under the skin of his opponents.

The team itself dominated through defence, they were more physical than it was ever imagined a basetkabll team to be, opposition players were literally scared of entering the paint as to avoid injury. The Pistons had a rule that once a foul had been committed the next few hits afterwards were encouraged as an extra bonus.

The league had gone from spectacular with Magic and Bird, to dark and fearsome with the Pistons and the problem was that they were the best team in the league for a number of years.

The documentary itself does a fantastic job of painting the picture of what the Pistons of that era were all about, it is incredibly informative for anyone who didn't have the chance to see them. 

They managed to make it to three consecutive finals between 1988-90 and won two NBA titles, they are often remembered for their dirty acts rather than their actual championships but if you ever have the chance to watch the documentary, I encourage you to do so as you wont be disappointed.

Detroit Pistons

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