ESPN flubs Bad Boys walkout story

Pistons walkESPN did exactly as expected.

It did not present a major component of the Bad Boy Pistons walk out story line during Last Dance, the documentary about the dynasty Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan.

It was predictable. It was expected.

It is what everybody does who chronicles this important passing of the torch. The day before the walk out Michael Jordan sat in the end zone seats at the Palace and destroyed the Pistons legacy. It was mean spirited and it was calculated to rid the world of the Pistons rough and tumble ways on the basketball floor and usher in the more pleasing legacy of Jordan and the Bulls.

Jordan said the Pistons were Bad Champions. Bad for basketball. Shameful. When Jordan spoke the Bulls were up 3-0 against the aging Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals and by that time the entire world knew the two-time defending champion Pistons were toast and the running of the Bulls was just beginning.

Then a day after destroying the Pistons franchise Jordan expects the Pistons to shake hands? John Salley did shake the Bulls hands. But we never see that footage.

Previous to the Pistons walk out we have the Boston Celtics walk out of the Pistons. Yet we never hear about that. The only footage we see is of Kevin McHale shaking hands with Isiah Thomas at mid court. And that only happened because Thomas intercepted McHale who was trying to sneak out of the Silverdome with teammates Larry Bird, Dennis Johnson and Robert Parish. The world is left to believe that the Celtics gave it up to the Pistons after the Pistons finally passed them.

That is not true.

The 1980s was an era of bad blood and fierce rivalries. It does not make it better or worse than what we see today. It was just different.

The Pistons run was never supposed to happen. The passing of the torch was meant to pass from Magic Johnson and Larry Bird to Michael Jordan. The Pistons, however, got in the way and their story is getting the short shaft.

Being a good sport means shaking hands of your opponents when they beat you. However, must you smile and say everything is OK when your opponent does something as vicious and calculating as Jordan?

I agreed with the walk out then. I agree with it today.

Maybe I am sensitive to this because I was one of those ink stained reporters who listened to Jordan that day dog the Pistons. I wrote about it and commentated about it. But if you go by media reports that day never happened.

Maybe it was a figment of my imagination.

Last dance is the most powerful and far reaching documentary that ESPN has done. For generations this is what future fans will be told. The Pistons were thugs. The Bulls finally passed them. And the Pistons were bad sports for not shaking hands.

That’s it.

There is an important missing link that is being swept under the rugs.

Shame ESPN.



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