[Who Is] Bill Laimbeer Billl Laimbeer Ask 3 Pistons fans to describe Bill Laimbeer and you would probably get answers similar to the ones below. Known as "the prince of darkness," "a street thug," "an ax murderer" and "His Heinous", Bill Laimbeer was the quintessential Detroit Bad Boy Piston. Bill's toughness was the obvious manifestation of his competitiveness. A tenacious defender and rebounder, a great jump shooter (for a big man) and one of the peskiest Pistons to ever play the game. Imagine Lindsey Hunter circa 2004 playoffs but in a Center's body and with a serious mean/dirty streak. I've always maintained that Lambs was the perfect sidekick for Isiah Thomas. Not to diminish Bill, but he always had Zeke's back, and always did the dirty work. Hurt, beaten, demoralized, Laimbeer and Thomas represented Piston pride to the maximum. These were the original underdogs from Detroit. The Boys clamouring for respect. But unlike the current Pistons squad, the Bad Boys had to take everything they wanted, there was little help or goodwill outside of Michigan (and Windsor ;)). The Pistons were riviled and hated everywhere they went. The media to this day does not give enough credit to that squad and the fact they were so close to winning 4 straight titles from 87~91. Laimbeer was drafted by Cleveland out of Notre Dame. The Cavs took too long to sign him, and he ended up in Italy playing one season for Pinti Inox of Brescia. The next year he was a Cav, ironically under later-to-be Pistons coach Chuck Daly. In fact, as Coach Daly tells the story today, then Cavaliers owner Ted Stepien (widely considered the worst owner in NBA history) approached Daly when he was with the Pistons and remarked that the Pistons had James (Buddha) Edwards, Laimbeer and Daly as coach, all former Cavaliers. To which Daly basically replied, "I tried to tell you we had the start of something good", alluding to the Cavs roster before Laimbeer was traded. Daly had quit the Cavs when Stepien began making bizarre roster moves, essentially destroying his own franchise. Bill went many years in the rough and tumble Eastern Conference without ever throwing a closed fist punch. Consider that Laimbeer was regularly gang attacked, and provoked bench clearing melees. He was the target of "payback" in subsequent games whenever he would rub a team's star the wrong way. Opposing players would beat Bill, and he always came back for more. But I make it sound like Lambs was just some Bad Boy thug, a white goon with no fear of injury. Not at all. Laimbeer was a great scorer, led the league in rebounding one season, a relentless defender, and a 4 time All-Star selection. He also held the league iron man record for consecutive games played at 685 (now 4th all-time) which ironically was broken when he earned a suspension for throwing his first closed fist punch (during a game) against the Philadelphia 76ers' Charles Barkley. 685 games of beatings, cheap shots and flops, yet somehow Lambs never missed a game, and almost never retaliated. Another legend has it that Barkley and former Bad Boy Rick Mahorn sent a note to Laimbeer via a ball boy prior to that game with the brawl, Dear Bill, F*** You. Charles Rick and Bill were the original Bad Boys, toughing it up and intimidating every team they played. In the old days, the mystique of championship caliber teams would often win games before the tip as opponents were either * in awe of who they were playing, (Lakers, Bulls, Celtics) or * terrified of a physical beating (Celtics, Pistons) [floatl]http://www.pistonsforum.com/images/picdump/laimbeer-badboys.jpg[/floatl]Rick and Bill adopted the tough "L.A. Raiders" image after Al Davis (The NFL Raiders owner) sent them some black and silver gear re-branded for the Pistons. I guess they did have a couple fans outside of Michigan after all. Sure enough, the Pistons marketing machine led by Tom Wilson capitalized on this with Bad Boys apparel and schwag quick to follow. I proudly wore my Bad Boys tee, acquired at Game 2 of the '89 Finals at the Palace. Sadly, but much to the relief of the NBA the Bad Boys image was retired when Mahorn was lost to Minnesota in an expansion draft, prompting the new "Hammertime" campaign as the Pistons tried to repeat in 1990. (note: that is a new school re-issue of the classic tee) Then there was of course, the roadshow that excited entire stadiums into constant booing and hissing at Lambs. There was no arena where he was not the villain except the Silverdome and later the Palace. His ability to incite, distract (the ultimate goal) and irritate was probably unparalleled in NBA history. Take the flack Kobe got post rape-charge, and multiply it by ten. Bill was satan. He was evil. He kissed hate on the mouth every road game. I suppose my ramblings really can't do justice to the legacy of Laimbeer for a newer fan who had never seen him play. Simply put, Bill was to the Bad Boys what Ben is to this Pistons squad, perhaps even more so, and as a testament to how deep and talented the league was at that time, he was only the second best player on his own team. What Thomas had in heart, talent and pride, Laimbeer matched in intensity, work ethic and courage. Larry Bird "We don't like him that good," Isiah Thomas "I wouldn't say fans hate him. They love to hate him. It's a love-hate relationship. Tell you the truth, if I didn't know Bill, I wouldn't like him either." Horace Grant when told of Laimbeer's retirement "There's going to be a big party at my house tonight. Everybody's invited." Laimbeer on himself "I don't fight. I agitate, then walk away." "As far as centers go, I'm not Moses or Kareem. I'm striving to be the best of the rest."