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‘Bad Boys’ John Salley and William Bedford disagree with Michael Jordan and the disrepute caused to their championship side

Achyuth Jayagopal

'Bad Boys' John Salley and William Bedford disagree with Michael Jordan and the disrepute caused to their championship side

The Isiah Thomas-led Detroit Pistons were a force to reckon with in the 1980s.

Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson all tried and failed to stop the Pistons from winning it all on multiple instances. The Pistons and their legendary backcourt set the standard for team basketball with their success.

The Pistons led by Chuck Daly were incredibly consistent. Their defensive stability and a smooth offense led by their floor general Isiah Thomas were way beyond their time.

Also read: “If the Detroit Pistons were bad then why did Michael Jordan and the Bulls sign Dennis Rodman”: Isiah Thomas exposes the hypocrisy of the Phil Jackson team

However, the Pistons barely ever get the credit owed to them. The perception around them is that of villainy with them often being called out for physical basketball and hard-nosed fouls.

Part of the reason such allegations gained pace was simple. The chief party leading the allegations was none other than the GOAT for most, Michael Jordan. The allegations particularly gained mileage with the Pistons featuring consistently as villains marring MJ’s rise to the pinnacle with their “Jordan Rules” in The Last Dance.

How much substance was there to the allegations? We’ll let some ‘Bad Boys’ talk.

What did members of the ‘Bad Boy’ Pistons have to say about the narrative surrounding them?

John Salley and William Bedford were two role players with the Pistons who were part of their 1990 championship season. Both of them were giants commandeering the paint. Salley even holds the record of being the first person to win a championship in three different decades.

Salley’s perspective in particular is key. This is because the four-time champion later joined forces with Jordan’s Bulls to win a championship in 1996.

Teammate Bedford was the first to sound off on Michael Jordan and the “hypocrisy” in the ‘Bad Boys’ narrative. Bedford reminded everyone how the rest of the league tried being like the Pistons. And this included poaching members of the successful Pistons rosters – something even Jordan and his Bulls did.

Dennis Rodman and John Salley were two Pistons recruited by MJ’s Bulls. Jordan and his team needed to “beef up” to win, and who to turn to than some old “Bad Boys”.

Salley also echoed Bedford’s sentiments. Salley criticized the narrative and told the world that they weren’t as hard-nosed or physical as they were made to look. Center Bill Laimbeer in particular and the villainous image associated with him were used by Salley as an example of the same.

Champions earn haters. And it clearly seems like the Pistons made a whole bunch of them. Regardless of their narrative, they were indeed “Bad Boys” who ruined the narrative of 80s basketball and made themselves the villains to the superstars.

Also read: “I hate that music, my blood would just boil”: Isiah Thomas throws shade at the Bulls Sirius theme song introducing Michael Jordan

About the author

Achyuth Jayagopal

Achyuth Jayagopal

Achyuth Jayagopal is a creative writer with The Sportsrush. After previous freelance dabbles in the industry, Achyuth has authored over 300 pieces for TSR. Having followed the game of basketball for a considerable period, he pledges his allegiance to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Beyond speaking his mind on all things basketball, Achyuth is a Sports and Gaming Lawyer who is an ardent Chelsea fan and takes a shine to the culinary world and travelling too.

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