Bill Laimbeer Chat Transcript
The Detroit Pistons will honor Bill Laimbeer, arguably the most hated Bad Boy in the history of the NBA, on Friday, January 6 when they host the Seattle Supersonics at 8:00 p.m.
The Pistons will honor Laimbeer, who spent 13 seasons with the Pistons and now serves as a television color analyst, is the head coach of the WNBA Detroit Shock, won two championships and was one of the original 'Bad Boys.' Laimbeer is the all-time leading rebounder in Pistons history (9,430 career) and still ranks in the Top Ten in 11 Pistons all-time career categories.
The Pistons have planned a halftime ceremony where they will play a video detailing Laimbeer's life and career. George Blaha, the voice of the Pistons, will introduce Laimbeer to the crowd and the organization will unveil the permanent 'signage' on the court. Laimbeer will briefly address the crowd.
Laimbeer chatted with Pistons fans on Thursday, January 5.
Bill Laimbeer: Here it is, another web chat. This time it's for being honored again by the Pistons. I'm very appreciative of the recognition. I watched some of my buddies have their names put on the floor, and it was great to see. So let's get started.
Charles: Hey Lamb it looks like you have been working out, who helps you anyway? Mike Abdenour or Arnie?
Bill Laimbeer: Actually neither help me. I occassionally work out on the treadmill and do a little weight lifting. I do a lot more now than I have ever done before, but it's still too limited for what I'd like to do.
Jean (Detroit): Isiah Thomas should have been on the 1992 Dream Team roster, true or false? What's you reaction to Joe Dumars not getting in the Hall of Fame last year? I think the sportswriters need a wake up call, don't you think so?
Bill Laimbeer: Isiah not getting on the Dream Team was probably more political than anything else. I think he definitely deserved to be there, but I didn't have a vote. Joe will make it into the Hall of Fame. It's just a matter of time. I have no worries there. Sportswriters are sportswriters. Enough said.
Steve (Pontiac): Uncle Bill: Your championships began coincidentally with your move to the Palace, out of the Silverdome. Was there a big difference in your team's performance or attitude about home court in the new Palace versus the cavernous curtained-off Silverdome?? Thanks.
Bill Laimbeer: I don't think so. Our team was poised to win a championship no matter where we played. That we happend to be at The Palace, which was brand new, made it all the more special.
Nelson (Detroit): What is it like having Rick Mahorn on your coaching staff & what does he bring to the Shock ball club? I hope you guys win another championship title.
Bill Laimbeer: Rick is a great assistant coach for me. He's probably one of the few people that can tell me "No." His practice demeanor is outstanding and he works very well with our post players. Everybody likes Rick and respects him, as do I.
Riverside, CA.: Do you think Ben Wallce will beat your rebounding record?
Bill Laimbeer: If he stays with the Pistons for the rest of his career, he will probably come close if not exceed my title. There's still a long way to go as he has not been here for too long. If he remains healthy and finishes his career with the Pistons, it's going to be close.
Brad (Tucson): Bill, you had many heated rivals during your time with the Pistons. Who do you think was your biggest rival as a player, and as a team who was the biggest rival?
Bill Laimbeer: I prefer to talk about teams rather than players because it's a team game. Probably the Boston Celtics were our biggest rivals because they were the ones we had to surpass to get to the Finals. They were very mentally strong and we learned a lot from them.
John (Detroit): During your career, what opposing players really got your competitive juices flowing and took your game to the highest level. What was your biggest disappointment during your career?
Bill Laimbeer: The players that got us going were Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, who were all able to compete at a mental level with us and that was fun. The disappointment was probably that we didn't win three championships in a row.
Ahmed (Piscataway, NJ): Were you really the most hated "Bad Boy" back when you were with the Pistons?
Bill Laimbeer: That's not for me to say. I guess the media would have portrayed me as such. Opposing fans would probably feel the same. All I cared about was winning and winning for the Pistons.
Holland: What were your feelings when you came to Detroit from Cleveland?
Bill Laimbeer: I was very happy to be traded to begin with. That it happened to be Detroit which was an hour and a half from my parents, and my wife's parents in Toledo, was outstanding. Plus I had played with Isiah Thomas at the Olympic trials and knew that he was a great teammate. I welcomed the change.
Kevin (Bloomfield Hills): What was your greatest game ever?
Bill Laimbeer: I guess it was Game 3 in Portland during the Finals when it was important for us to take back the series from them. I thought that not only myself, but our entire team really stood up and made a statement that it was our series.
Benjamin: Hello Coach Laimbeer. Who do think are the single best players in the NBA and WNBA? Good luck with your team this upcoming season.
Bill Laimbeer: I think LeBron James, if he's not there already, will be there shortly as the best player in the NBA. I say the same thing about Deanna Nolan with the Shock. Her phsical talents are second to none, and she is learning how to be a dominant player.
Stockholm: Hello Bill! I was very young when you played for the Pistons back in 1989 and 1990 when you won championships. What was it that made you so good, was it really the bad attitude, the rough style? Do you think you could have won it without playing rough like you did?
Bill Laimbeer: I'd like to call myself a great complimentary player, that I help my teammates get better and feed off them. That was my biggest strength, I believe.
Amanda (Grand Rapids): You missed five games due to injury, what kind of injury did you suffer?
Bill Laimbeer: I didn't miss any games to injury. I missed one as a rookie in a "Did Not Play-Coaches Decision," I missed three by suspension, and I sat out the last game of my career in Cleveland.
Grand Rapids: In your opinion, what is the best way to develop Darko Milicic? Do you have any suggestions?
Bill Laimbeer: I think having confidence in Darko is a great start. I think Flip Saunders has showed that he's willing to play him. Darko needs to get a bit more physical, and take better advantage of the time that he gets - even if it's the last two minutes.
Mike Simpson (Bloomfield Hills): What your reaction to Sheryl Swoopes coming out? Does that make her a bad person?
Bill Laimbeer: To each his own. Real life is real life. No, she's not a bad person. She's a very fine person. She's competitive as an athlete and caring as an individual.
Calumet: Bill, I am a big fan of the Pistons and I am wondering what you think it will take to get a record-breaking record in the 2005-2006 season. Do you think they are headed that way?
Bill Laimbeer: I think the Pistons will set the franchise record for number of wins. Whether they can beat the 72 wins that the Bulls put up, that may be very difficult. They have to stay healthy and win the games they're not supposed to win.
John (Novi): At the time of your retirement, I remember hearing comments from K.C. Jones in which he stated about you, "Next stop, Hall of Fame." (1) Do you remember those comments? and (2) What do you think about your Hall of Fame chances?
Bill Laimbeer: I don't remember those comments, I did not read what people were saying about me. The Hall of Fame is way beyond my control. I don't dwell on it at all.
Marvin (Saginaw): Bill, Zeke was to me the greatest, toughest little guy to play the game in his era. Allen Iverson reminds me very much of him in terms of being "pound for pound" the toughest & best among his peers. Tattoos aside, how would you compare these two players?
Bill Laimbeer: You are probably correct about the two best little guys. I believe that Iverson is a better scorer than Isiah was, but Isiah is definitely the better basketball player. He is a true point guard, makes his teammates better, leads by example and is such a smart basketball player. I really don't think there's any comparison between the two.
Charles (Reno, NV): Since your days, we haven't seen anybody else quite like yourself in terms of rebounding, and intimidation. You kept your composure, but still frustrated the other players. Has the game matured in a sense, or are players just not into the "mental" aspects of intimidation anymore? You have to admit, you guys were the only ones to really break into Jordan's game - especially you.
Bill Laimbeer: I think the league through legislation of new rules has taken away some of the physical play that was prevalent during my time. There are many mentally strong players today, but not nearly the number that there was back then. Also, I believe money has crept into the game because there's so much of it, that it's probably taken away a little of the fiery competitiveness.
Bill Laimbeer: I enjoyed my time with you all today. I hope we're all anxious to see just how far the Pistons can take it this year - both record-wise and competing for the championship again. Talk to you all soon.