Next June will mark the 25th anniversary of the Detroit Pistons second NBA title. That team, known as “The Bad Boys”, remains one of the most popular teams in the history of Detroit sports. Here’s a look at where the key members of both the 1988-89 and 1989-90 championship teams are today.
In a trade that sent shockwaves through the NBA, Aguirre was acquired mid-season in 1989 from the Mavericks for Adrian Dantley. One of Isiah Thomas’s best friends, Aguirre proved to be a valuable scorer for Chuck Daly. Now 54 years old, Aguirre lives in Dallas and is pursuing his dream to become a coach at his alma mater, DePaul University. Aguirre is currently working on completing his classwork to acquire his degree from DePaul (he left the school early to enter the NBA draft), which requires head coaches to have a college degree.
The 7-footer served as a rare occasional backup during the 1989-90 season after missing all of 1988-89 with a substance abuse problem. Bedford continued to have problems with drugs after his NBA career ended in 1993 from a knee injury. He was arrested a few times on minor drug charges before finally getting busted for transporting 25 pounds of marijuana in Michigan in 2001. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and was released in 2011. He’s returned to Memphis (where he starred in college) and is now involved in several youth and basketball organizations, including a juvenile court where he mentors youth who have had troubles with the law.
After winning the back-to-back titles with the Pistons, Daly served two more years in Detroit before going on to lead the Nets and Magic to the playoffs in brief stints with those NBA teams. He also guided the original “Dream Team” to Olympic gold in the 1992 Games. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March of 2009 and died at the age of 78 two months later.
A polarizing figure on the Pistons teams, Dantley missed out on the NBA titles but he was a key part of the 1987-88 that lost the NBA Finals to the Lakers and he played half of the 1988-89 season before being traded for Aguirre. Dantley played 16 seasons in the NBA and retired as one of the top scorers in league history. Always interested in mentoring young players (as he had done with Joe Dumars in Detroit), Dantley was an assistant coach in the NBA for 8 years with Denver and briefly served as interim head coach for that team in 2009-10. He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008 and in his acceptance speech he leveled criticism at “forces on the team” that pushed him out of Detroit. He lives in his hometown of Silver Springs, Maryland, where a few years ago he gained notoriety for being a low-profile crossing guard at the local elementary school.
Dawkins was at the far end of the bench for the Bad Boys in 1988-89, his final season in the NBA. The man of a thousand (mostly self-given) nicknames played briefly with the Harlem Globetrotters and coached in the ABA. He works with an NBA-sponsored program that teaches basketball to kids and tours the country explaining fundamentals.
A star at Wyoming in college, Dembo seemed destined for a long career in the NBA but it never materialized. Instead the small forward played just one year, the 1988-89 season with the champion Bad Boys. After he was released by Detroit, Dembo played for more than a decade professionally in Europe. He’s currently attending the University of Texas in San Antonio in pursuit of a degree in city planning.
One of five members of the Bad Boys who were elected to the Hall of Fame, along with Isiah, Rodman, Dantley, and coach Daly. Dumars played for the Pistons the longest after the Bad Boys titles, finally hanging up his sneakers after the 1998-99 season. Dumars was president and GM of the Pistons from 2000 to 2014, guiding the team to two NBA Finals and one championship. Nevertheless, when he was fired he was unpopular with many fans of the team despite having led the Pistons to six division titles. The 51-year old still resides in Detroit where he looks after his business interests.
Of all the Bad Boys, Edwards had the longest NBA playing career, lasting 19 seasons in the league. Known for his patented fadeaway turnaround jumper, Edwards won an additional NBA title in his final season with the Bulls as a bench player. The 59-year old lives in Soouthfield, Michigan and is retired.
The 6’10 power forward appeared in 40 games for Detroit in 1989-90, his first of two seasons as a bench player for Chuck Daly. After his NBA career ended in Denver in 1993, Hastings carved out a career in sports radio. He spent several years as a radio analyst for the Denver Broncos and currently co-hosts a sports talk radio show in Denver.
Like Hastings, the quick little guard was on the 1989-90 Pistons coming off the bench. Henderson had a 13-year career in which he played in four NBA Finals (three with Boston). Henderson’s son Gerald Jr. is a guard in the NBA. The senior Henderson lives in Pennsylvania where he and his wife share a real estate business.
The popular “Microwave” finished his NBA career in 1992 after 13 seasons. In 1994 the Pistons retired his #15 in a ceremony at The Palace. In 1995 Johnson launched Piston Automotive, an automobile parts supply company in Detroit. He’s committed himself to creating jobs for Detroiters and he’s currently chairman of The Piston Group, an automotive parts supplier based in Redford, MI.
After retiring in 1993, Laimbeer opened a cardboard box company in Detroit, and served as a TV commentator for the Pistons before launching a coaching career. He assumed the head coaching job of the WNBA’s Detroit Shock in the middle of the 2002 season and the following year he guided them to the WNBA title as he was named coach of the year. He won titles again in 2006 and 2008, giving the Shock three titles in six seasons. He was an assistant in the NBA briefly and was linked to several open head coaching jobs including the Pistons, though Laimbeer was never offered a position in that role. He spent the last two seasons coaching Minnesota in the WNBA but resigned after the 2014 season. He still resides in the Detroit suburbs and hasn’t given up his goal to be an NBA head coach.
Long had three stints with the Pistons, including the 1988-89 season when he appeared in just 24 games but still earned a championship ring. The Michigan native still lives in Detroit where he’s employed as the analyst for Pistons’ television broadcasts, a role he’s held since the 1998-99 season.
To many, the Bad Boys weren’t really the Bad Boys after Mahorn was lost in the expansion draft after the 1988-89 title. The big-butted power forward lasted 10 more years in the NBA, including a second stint in Detroit. He was a color commentator on radio broadcasts for the Pistons for one season before accepting a job with former teammate Laimbeer as assistant coach for the Detroit Shock. He succeeded Laimbeer as head coach in 2009 and held that job until the WNBA team moved to Tulsa in 2010. Mahorn currently serves as a radio broadcaster for Pistons’ games.
The mastermind of the Pistons, McCloskey made the moves that built the team that won three straight conference titles and two NBA championships. McCloskey resigned after the 1991-92 season as the Pistons were getting older and less talented. He served in the front office for the Timberwolves and the Raptors before retiring in the late 1990s. In 2008, 30 years after he was hired by the team, the Pistons honored McCloskey by raising a banner to the rafters at The Palace with his name on it. This past October he turned 89 and he lives in Georgia.
As one of McCloskey’s greatest draft selections, Rodman blossomed into the best defender and most tenacious rebounder in the NBA on his way to the Hall of Fame. Eventually, Rodman wore out his welcome in Detroit and went from San Antonio to Chicago where he won three more NBA titles with the Bulls. He dated Madonna, starred in a few terrible movies, wrote a trashy book, and struck up a friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He currently lives on Mars.
Like his front court mate Rodman, Salley forged a successful NBA career after leaving Detroit. The 7-footer won additional titles with the Bulls and Lakers before retiring after a 14-year professional career. He was the first player to win titles with three NBA teams and the first to win a title in three different decades. Never shy around the camera or a microphone, Salley has enjoyed a career as a sports talk show host on both TV and radio. He was briefly commissioner of the ABA and is currently an ambassador for Operation Smile, an organization that provides funding to help children get much-needed surgeries.
Of all the Bad Boys, Thomas has had the most controversial post-Pistons career. He spent several years as a head coach, GM, or president of numerous teams in the NBA with limited success. His tenure as coach and GM of the Knicks resulted in him being a hated figure in New York. He led the CBA (Continental Basketball Association) to financial ruin and he also faced a high-profile lawsuit for sexual harassment while with the Knicks. To be fair, Thomas did help construct a good team in Indiana that saw the Pacers go to the NBA Finals after he left as coach. Thomas coached tiny Florida International University for three seasons before being fired in 2012. Since then, Isiah has been a commentator for NBA TV and also a contributor to NBA.com.
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