[Who Is] Bill Laimbeer *VIDEO INCLUDED*

Discussion in 'Pistons and NBA' started by roscoe36, Mar 17, 2006.

  1. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    [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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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​

    [​IMG]

    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."
  2. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    I should add that Bill also *starred* as a 17 year old in Land of the Lost (1974) as a Sleestak.

    [​IMG]
  3. basketbills

    basketbills All-Star Forum Donor

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    Great stuff Micro. Thank you for the work you put into it....a great tribute to Laimbeer.

    As much as people hated him he was great for the NBA. We need Villains and Billy played that role with style.
  4. dba

    dba All-Star Moderator 1x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    Oh man, I loved Land of the Lost.

    Laimbeer is a tough one for me to think about. It's just too hard to separate out the fun guy to listen to on Pistons broadcasts with the whining, pouting, cheap-shot artist I remember playing the game.

    Wednesday night, whilst bored mindless in Omaha waiting for the Pistons game, I watched an ESPN classics thing on the second Bulls championship. If you're someone who has only started watching the game in the last eight to ten years, you wouldn't even recognize those playoff battles (and the ones of the prior several years) as being the same game. About half the players (remember the Knicks frontline of Ewing, Oakley, and X?) would get suspended for the next game by the end of the first half. It really did look more like the WWF than the NBA of today.

    Makes it all the more amazing what teams like the showtime Lakers were able to do. Can you imagine how much they would score if thier defenders couldn't touch a guard or knock somebody down every now and then?
  5. Slippy

    Slippy All-Star Administrator Forum Donor

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    Who here wasn't influenced by Bill? He's the patron saint of all the blue collar players.
  6. Capn

    Capn First Round Draft Pick

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    Lamb was by far the best 3 point shooter with his 1/2 inch vertical. He always stated he was not that talented, but it was his work eithic and desire to not let something like talent get in his way of contibuting to basketball and making a name for himself and his team.

    Lamb was definitely like what Ben is to the Pistons now. I agree with what Isiah said back then, if he wasn't on our team, I wouldn't like him either. He was definitely one of those guys you love to have on your team, but hate to play against.

    Good work roscoe. Brought back memories of the late 80's early 90's pistons.
  7. OLD SKOOL HQ

    OLD SKOOL HQ All-Star

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    LMAOOOOOOOOOOOO! stop it!!!I watched this show religiously!!!!!!!!!!!!:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
  8. OLD SKOOL HQ

    OLD SKOOL HQ All-Star

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    But let my drunk butt get a lil serious...In Detroit we could get games from the Notre Dame network every week. And thats where I fell in love with this TRIPUCKA guy and this hard workin white boy. When ISIAH insisted we use our 2nd pick on Kelly , I was ecstatic!!! But when Zeke said 'get Laimbeer" I went crazy. In Cleveland, Bill couldget 20 rebs any night and had a great j. When he got here, he was the best outlet passer since Wes Unseld! This is my all time Most Underated team of all time:(that I have seen)

    F- Bobby Jones, Phila
    F- Larry Kenon, SA
    C- Bill Laimbeer, Detroit
    g- Phil Chenier, Washington
    G- IsaihThomas, Detroit...(they just dont know)

    and trust me. lammm was a dirty player. but the only time he made e mad when he pushed that Milwaukee guy in the back, trailing on a fast break(Kristowaic?) But the announcers said he barely touched him so I let it go!
  9. buddahfan

    buddahfan Retired from Forum

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    Laimbeer was and still is "Smart" and "Tough" (how many consecutive games did he play in before he was suspended. I don't recall but I think it was 800 and something).

    He is also a nice guy off the court and a "Lady's man (How else could he get so lucky as to coach the Shock).
  10. 1989

    1989 First Round Draft Pick

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    Finally got around to watching these (thanks micro).

    Laimbeer wasn't the best center to play the game, but he's definitely my favourite; he was also a lot better than he's typically given credit for.

    Man, the NBA was rough back in the '80s. Watching these clips reminds me of just how hostile the Pistons-Celtics series were in '87 and '88 in particular.
  11. aurora

    aurora Bench Warmer

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    :jaw: WOW!:hail: :hail: :hail: :hail: :hail: :yield:
    I would have had a HUGE basketball crush on Bill Laimbeers.

    Does anyone know how I can buy/borrow/lie/cheat/steal or kill to get more video from the Bad Boys era?

    Screw the new NBA. In my house I'll just pretend it's the late 80's and watch the Bad Boys. I live alone so I have no reality checks! :laugh:

    Roscoe, do you have any Isiah? I love to watch great point guards more than any other basketball position and I sure would like to see Isiah play. I don't have ESPN classic, but maybe the NBA sells some of the championship games on video?:fingerscr

    Thank you so much for putting these videos on the forum, Roscoe. :)

    More Please?:pray: I'm greedy I know. But this is the healing balm for our playoff wounds for me.
  12. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    I'll hook you up in a couple of hours aurorakmw. Check the Green Room forum after 9:00.
  13. lazyberbs

    lazyberbs First Round Draft Pick

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    Lambs did not get as much respect from the refs, either. I remember "the Chief" clubbing him from behind in retaliation for something Parrish felt he did to Bird, and absolutely nothing was done to Parrish.

    But when Bill retaliated against Malone for the thirty or forty something stitch gash the Mailman gave Zeke, Lambs was tossed out right away.

    Right, Lambs might not be the best center to ever play the game, but I would have him on my team, anytime.
  14. aurora

    aurora Bench Warmer

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    I watched the Isiah video five times. I love it. Just think on one day Roscoe you have turned a new 2003-2004 Pistons fan into a Bad Boys worshipper! At least Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer so far. :nod:

    THIS FORUM IS THE BEST. GO BAD BOYS!!!
  15. detteam

    detteam All-Star

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    SERIOUSLY...is there really a downside to having Laimbeer prop up Flip's cardboard cut-out on the sideline next season? What is IT that I'm not seeing? :confused:
  16. linwood

    linwood All-Star

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    I don't get it either. I'm a big fan of Laims as the assistant coach. Bring Ricky along too.
  17. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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  18. Nemo

    Nemo Pun Master Forum Donor

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    Charles Barkley I think it was who brought in videos of Bill Laimbeer to show one of his teams. He wanted his players to see what limited natural talent could do. He said that Bill was always in the right place at the right time.

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