Trader Jack

For those of you who did not catch the event the other night, the Pistons honored “Trader” Jack McCloskey during halftime by raising a banner in the Palace rafters. McCloskey’s night was just one of many interesting nights during this season that Pistons fans have been able to partake in. From garish jerseys and other interesting player reunions, the latest ceremony helped bring back to mind one of the single-most despicable events in Pistons history.

The scene was the same Palace of Auburn Hills floor for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Chicago Bulls. As time was expiring on the game, Bad Boys members Isiah Thomas, Dennis Rodman and Bill Laimbeer were cracking jokes sitting on the baseline advertisement board. Looking back at the moment, you could see what the players were thinking at the time. It was May 27, 1991 and the Pistons were about to get swept by a Bulls team on the cusp of its first of six titles.

Following one last plead to stay at the bench by Chuck Daly, Isiah Thomas led Mark Aguirre and Bill Laimbeer to the exits with 7.9 ticks left on the clock. In those last few moments, these three cowards were unable to shake hands with the same team that they had faced year after year. In fact, the only person they did embrace at the end was Jack McCloskey, eyes filled with tears at the entrance to the Pistons tunnel.

McCloskey was part of this moment only by virtual circumstance. I personally do not believe that he instructed these events to play out, but it was clear that one of his lasting memories with Pistons fans will be his role in the events of May, 1991. That’s what made the recent evening very special, standing at center court was a man being honored for his career as a whole, not just one or two flash frame moments from our memory. Detroit sports fans have ridiculed Matt Millen and Randy Smith for the moves that sent their respective teams further from respectability. McCloskey’s passion helped drive the Pistons to two championships and to one very indellible moment in the annals of time.


One reply on “Trader Jack

  • Eric Lynch

    This column was directionless, biased, and just plain dumb. Using terms like “despicable” and “cowards” to describe 3 of the greatest players in Pistons history? Nice try, Mrs. Pippen.

    And then to insinuate that Jack McCloskey was somehow orchestrating the refusal to shake hands proved your agenda–you used the occasion of mcCloskey’s return to grind your ax, then attempted to justify it by unleashing the sinister conspiracy theory that exactly no one has ever speculated about. If that isn’t the act of a “coward”, then I don’t know what is.

    Jordan, Pippen, and Phil Jackson took personal shots at the Pistons all year and during that series–they were not worthy of the phony handshake and sportsmanship that you weep over. Walking off the court was on par with Draper refusing to shake Claude Lemieux’s hand, and every bit as justified. Sorry that the Pistons weren’t politically correct enough for you, but before you examine *their* alleged cowardice, you would do well to get in touch with your own.

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