Aside from their fans, no one liked them. But you had to respect them. Led by Isiah Thomas, Detroit’s Bad Boys saw their fair share of controversy, however they’d yet to see a ring. They came close in ’88, losing to the Lakers in a contentious seven game series, a memory that would motivate them for years to come.
Detroit retooled-adding Mark Aguirre to an already potent lineup-and won 63 games in ’89, a team record. With Isiah’s dazzling offensive arsenal, Joe Dumars’ steadying calm, Bill Laimbeer’s sharp elbows-and sharp shooting-complemented by Dennis Rodman swallowing every rebound in sight, the Pistons became a well rounded, brutally intimidating force that literally brought the competition to their knees. They eventually got that Finals rematch with the Lakers…and swept them. No one cheered, but it didn’t matter. More than twenty years later, they’re still champs and they still demand respect.