The "Bad Boy" Pistons may have not been very popular, but they were a hard team to beat. With their talented roster of Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Bill Laimbeer, Dennis Rodman, and Rick Mahorn, and their aggressive, no-nonsense tactics, their rise helped mark the end of the great Lakers and Celtics teams of the '80s.
Of course, they also famously went up against Michael Jordan and were one of the only teams to consistently beat the MJ-led Bulls before they won their first chip in 1991.
Needless to say, they were a tough opponent and it took Jordan at the peak of his powers to beat them.
So how would a guy like, say, LeBron James fare against them today? According to Skip Bayless, not very well.
“Your man GOAT James, the phony GOAT, would have gotten terrorized and humiliated by the Bad Boys Pistons. It would not have been a pretty sight what they would’ve done to a LeBron James, who not nearly as mentally tough as Michael Jordan.”
The mental disparity between LeBron and Jordan is a frequent topic when discussing the GOAT. For many out there, including Skip and ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, Jordan beats LeBron when it comes to mental toughness and "killer instinct."
To get past a team like the "Bad Boy" Pistons, one has to be strong both physically and mentally -- especially over the course of a 7-game series. While LeBron's physical strength is no question, how would his mind, patience, and focus, have held up in a playoff series with them?
Skip may be right and he may be wrong -- we'll never know either way. All we have to go on is the competition LeBron has faced, and it's fair to say he hasn't seen anything like that Pistons team. Then again, very few actually have -- and even fewer have beaten them.