I don’t follow many professional sports (college is a bigger interest for me), but I do like the NBA. And why wouldn’t I? I grew up in Michigan in the 1980s… the era of the Bad Boys.
Like many professional teams, the outfit has had its ups and downs. Throughout the better part of the 2000s, the team had some of the highest attendance ratings in the league. Today, the Palace is downright vacant during games. They say we are down around 17th in the NBA for population during games.
Sure, when a team does well, the people come. But the Lions somehow still get people out on Sunday to watch their games. What made the 1980s and the early 2000s big for the Pistons (other than national championship quests)? The Team.
Detroit fans like a Team. The Bad Boys were a team. Yeah, you had big personalities like Dennis Rodman, Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Joe Dumars, and Rick Mahorn … but it wasn’t “Dennis Rodman and the Pistons”. It was about the Team.
Cities like Miami, LA, and even Chicago have embraced the one-man show quite well. But Detroit doesn’t roll that way. Detroit was built by the hands of teams… not by one person. In the early 2000s, it was a Team (a rebirth of the Bad Boys, some thought) that brought Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, Chauncy Billups, Rip Hamilton, and Tayshaun Prince together. By themselves, nobody was really looking twice at these guys. But together, in Auburn Hills, they brought back an era of great basketball teamwork to the Motor City.
Thank you, Pistons management, we don’t need a singular big name like Allen Iverson. We need Billups and McDyess back.
Because in Detroit, it’s not about a Shaq or a Kobe or an AI or LaBron. It’s about a Team. It’s about the Bad Boys. When the sale dust settles, y’all over there in Auburn Hills need to get to work on putting together a Team — our Team — and then we can play some basketball. And then the fans will come.
Retro re-post of the day: Confessions of an Online Adventure.
Retro re-post bonus: Meditations in Brief.