On Friday, a second row of banners began, honoring the man most responsible for filling the first one. But all former Pistons GM Jack McCloskey wanted to do during the halftime ceremony was thank those who shared in his success.
And brag about the current Pistons’ 49-33 lead.
“Man, we’re whipping those Cavaliers, aren’t we?” McCloskey opened, to thunderous approval.
Even on a night dedicated to him - with his wife, children and grandchildren seated at center court with several former Pistons players - McCloskey spent his time at the mic acknowledging owner Bill Davidson, his trusted scouts Stan Novak and Will Robinson and his determined “Bad Boys.”
At the end of the day, however, it was McCloskey who assembled a team that reached five conference finals, three NBA Finals and won two championships. Hall of Fame guard Joe Dumars and former head coach Chuck Daly - two of the five men McCloskey brought to Detroit and have since raised banners of their own - wholeheartedly expressed their gratitude to McCloskey before raising his banner.
“Anytime you have the kind of success that this organization had back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, someone has to head that up. And make no mistake, Jack McCloskey was the head of all of that,” Dumars said. “He put this together, he put all these pieces together. It’s long overdue.”
Since the number 2 had been retired in honor of Daly coaching the team to its pair of titles, McCloskey’s banner was the second to be raised without a number, joining Davidson’s. This makes sense because you would be hard-pressed to boil McCloskey’s impact on the Pistons down to a simple number.
Daly came close though in his remarks by mentioning that McCloskey made 80 acquisitions in his 13 years at the helm, a testament to, if nothing else, his “Trader Jack” reputation.
“He made 80 because he needed to do that to get this organization and this team to where it became what it has become,” Daly said. “… His fingerprints were on every move that was made on this organization basketball-wise. Drafted everybody, secured coaches, trainers. Everything. Jack McCloskey was responsible for all of this. I don’t know of a guy who should be more honored for the success of this particular organization.”
Two framed gifts were unveiled, the first one a framed group of pictures from McCloskey’s tenure with the team, the other two jerseys with the numbers 89 and 90, with “McCloskey” stitched on the back. The team is also sending him on a trip to the Society Islands in the South Pacific.
McCloskey ended his remarks by thanking the fans.
“There isn’t a franchise that can survive without the help of you in the stands,” McCloskey said, who then turned and pointed at the four sections of the crowd. “You helped the Bad Boys in many cases and it was YOU, YOU, YOU and YOU that did it.”
Then everyone at center court gathered around the red, white and blue banner and sent McCloskey’ s name to the top of The Palace, right where it belongs.