The Detroit Pistons in the 1988-90 seasons are among the greatest teams in the history of the NBA. Known as the Bad Boys, they were feared on the court due to their rough plays that were borderline dirty. The rough plays weren't just reserved for the spotlight, with two stalwarts of the Bad Boys coming to blows in practice.
“I don't need to take that s**t!”
Isiah Thomas was considered the heart and soul of the Bad Boys era. He might be diminutive in frame, but he was a ruthless competitor who was always ready to throw a punch. Meanwhile, Bill Laimbeer became the face of the Bad Boys era with his towering frame and aggressive approach to the game. Of course, these two didn’t give ordinary fouls; they were career-ending, and they made sure you’re going to think twice about driving in the lane again.
However, the roughness wasn’t reserved just for the opposing players. Even members of the team weren’t spared from Laimbeer’s elbows, and Thomas had had enough of it. IT received an elbow from Bill in one practice which didn’t sit well with the point guard. He retaliated by punching the 6’11” center in the head so hard it resulted in a hand injury. Thomas had to miss up to eight weeks after breaking his third metacarpal bone.
When Laimbeer claimed it was just a basketball play, Isiah knew his teammate better.
IT missed games because of that injury. The incident proved that the Bad Boys took no prisoners and stayed true to character. We could imagine the Pistons’ practices to be fun to watch, and whatever went down there sharpened each other’s heart, body, and mind on the court.
Bad Boy to the end
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 isn’t regretting that unsportsmanlike move, unlike his teammate. Thomas claimed things would have been different if they had the chance to repeat history.
Meanwhile, Laimbeer has moved on and became a coach for a total of 17 years in the WNBA. He just retired last season. While we’re not sure what his next adventure will be, fans had a glimpse of who Bill was off the camera during practices: a true Bad Boy to the bone, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Laimbeer was all about winning, no matter the cost.