The Detroit Pistons in the 1988-90 seasons are among the greatest teams in NBA history. Known as the Bad Boys, they were feared on the pitch due to their brutal borderline dirt games. Tough games weren’t just for the spotlight, with two Bad Boys stalwarts coming to blows in practice.
“I don’t need to take that shit!”
Isiah Thomas was considered the heart and soul of the Bad Boys era. He may have been small in his frame, but he was a ruthless competitor who was always ready to throw a punch. Meanwhile, Bill Laimbeer has become the face of the Bad Boys era with his hulking frame and aggressive approach to the game. Of course, these two made no ordinary fouls; they were ending your career and they were making sure you would think twice about driving in the lane again.
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However, roughness wasn’t just for opposing players. Even the squad members weren’t spared from Laimbeer’s elbows, and Thomas had had enough. HE got nudged by Bill during a practice that didn’t suit the point guard. He retaliated by hitting the 6’11” cross so hard to the head that he injured his hand. Thomas had to miss up to eight weeks after breaking his third pastern.
When Laimbeer claimed it was just a basketball game, Isiah knew his teammate better.
He missed games because of this injury. The incident proved that the Bad Boys took no prisoners and stayed true to character. We could imagine that Pistons practices were fun to watch, and everything that happened there sharpened the heart, body and spirit of everyone on the field.
Bad boy all the way
The Bad Boys were famous for refusing to shake hands with Michael Jordan after the Chicago Bulls finally defeated them in the playoffs in 1991. To this day, Laimbeer doesn’t regret the unsportsmanlike decision, unlike his teammate. Thomas claimed things would have been different had they had the chance to repeat history.
During that time, Laimbeer moved on and coached for a total of 17 years in the WNBA. He just retired last season. While we don’t know what his next adventure will be, fans got a glimpse of who Bill was off-camera during practice: a real Bad Boy to the bone, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Laimbeer wanted above all to win, no matter the cost.