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.



Find Terry Foster Podcast here:

Published by terryfoster8

I am a 58 year old retired sports journalist, husband and father of two living outside of Detroit in search of his next big adventure in life.

6 thoughts on “ESPN flubs Bad Boys walkout story

  1. I remember this era of basketball. To me it was the best time to be a Detroit fan of all sports going on anywhere. Sure the tigers were excellent in the mid 80’s, however, the pistons were the franchise that made you proud to be a Detroiter. We were the underdog, the hardest working team, the team no one wanted to see win. And when they finally hurdled the fence for their championship, that was the best feeling you could have as a fan.
    You’re right Terry, your call out on Jordan twas a complete flub and now exactly why I won’t watch the Dance.
    D-E-T-R-O-I-T B-A-S-K-E-T-B-A-L-L

    1. I still watched The Dance. I might not have liked everything about it, but it was entertaining.

    1. Jordan controlled the narrative and he wanted to leave the documentary looking like the good guy

  2. Bull.
    Jordan spoke ill of the Pistons because they had been beating on him for years. The Celtics didn’t shake up with the Pistons because both teams were roughnecks (and two bullies aren’t going to shake hands).
    I live in Michigan. I loved the Bad Boys. But their tactics often overshadowed the lockdown skills of Dumars, the firepower of him, Isaiah and Vinnie Johnson, the sixth-sense rebounding ability of Worm, and the dependability of their pivot men.
    Plain and simple: In the end, they should have shook hands with the Bulls and they didn’t. As I was watching it on TV I knew it was wrong and so did you. And if you ask John Salley, I bet he’ll tell you that Zeke or Laimbeer or Mahorn chastised him later for shaking up with anyone (breaking ranks). (But John Salley is a very likable, funny guy and he is the type of guy who would fail to see and memo and do what comes naturally.)
    Zeke was one of the best guards to ever play the game. But Jordon black-balling him from the Dream Team (and Chuck Daly rolling with it) was the essence of what sports is all about. He got what he deserved. I’ll bet everything I own that Isiah Thomas would do that post-game handshake differently if he had a chance.
    If you were a reporter, you saw the beat-downs the Pistons put on Jordan. How could you conclude that the Pistons were miffed because of things Jordan said about them. What else would they expect him to say? He was the only player on the Bulls they didn’t routinely call a pussy.
    Lastly, consult Bill Laimbeer. The man tells the truth. He didn’t give a crap about what people thought of him, the Pistons or what they did back then. And he doesn’t give a crap now. Isiah is the one trying to back-pedal what he orchestrated. it tarnishes his star.
    The Pistons were an excellent team. Isiah should let it go.

    1. Lets go back to that Jordan moment. I heard it live and I was pissed off. I knew the Pistons well and they took great pride in the way they played basketball. Jordan went overboard when he trashed them. I still support the walk out.

Leave a Reply to terryfoster8 Cancel reply

%d bloggers like this: