The "Bad Boy" Pistons did not have the best reputation during their days of dominating the NBA. Seen as an aggressive and rowdy bunch, they were hated by countless people around the globe.
The worst of the critics was also their biggest rival and competitor, Michal Jordan. In the aftermath of their 1991 win, Jordan went out of his way to call them "undeserving" champions.
Their hatred for each other ran deep -- to the point where the Pistons (when the Bulls finally beat them in 1991) refused to shake their hands at the end of the series. Jordan even called them "undeserving champions" on the day between Games 3 and 4 in Detroit in 1991.
“The Pistons are undeserving champions,” Jordan said. “The Bad Boys are bad for basketball.”
That narrative has followed the Pistons for years now, and it might never truly go away. But, for the first time, Isiah Thomas is pushing back against those ideas and defending the legacy of his old team.
In a recent podcast chat, the basketball spoke honestly about his feelings on the matter, at one point even mentioning how the Bulls grabbed one of their key players towards the end of their run.
“Dennis Rodman was better than people think. When Dennis was with the Detroit Pistons, Dennis had to learn a lot of things about how to play. Now, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, they get Dennis Rodman. It was like, ‘Oh, the Detroit Pistons were bad’ but didn’t ya’ll go and get half our team.”
Despite being associated with the Bulls and their second three-peat, he actually has deeper roots in Detroit, where he spent his first 7 years in the league. It was there he learned how to play the game, and there that he made his first two All-Star teams.
Despite playing a huge role on such a widely hated Pistons team, it seems nobody on the Bulls had a problem when he joined. It's a fair point by Thomas, but unlikely to change anything about how the public sees the Bad Boys today.
While they may have never started the fights, they were always a little too willing to finish them and we're seeing the cost years later.