Chuck Daly and Isiah Thomas consult on the sidelines in June 1989, as the Pistons drive toward their first title. (The Detroit News)
This is the third in a series of stories leading to the reunion of the Pistons Bad Boys team March 28 at The Palace.
They were exact opposites.
General manager Jack McCloskey was Trader Jack, a high-energy jock who loved high-risk trades.
Chuck Daly was a player’s coach who still maintained a firm hand on the court.
And guess what? They didn’t always get along.
But during a nine-year run together, they led the Pistons to three NBA Finals, winning twice, and never had a losing season.
Still, their relationship was, to say the least, a bit rocky.
It started with McCloskey’s first high-risk move — hiring Daly, a guy more known as a high school and Ivy League coach. Daly was a broadcaster for the 76ers when he was hired, and his only NBA coaching experience was a 41-game stint with the Cavaliers (9-32).
But that was the just the beginning.
There was friction that was born out of the interest the 76ers had in hiring Daly as their coach. It made sense since he was from St. Mary’s, Pa. McCloskey said he was not in the business of developing coaches for other teams, and insisted on a first-round pick from the 76ers.
It never happened.
And the friction grew.
During one practice at Oakland University, McCloskey spoke to beat writers well underneath the cascade of bouncing basketballs.
Daly didn’t like it.
“Hey, writers! Keep it down or get out!” Daly barked.
McCloskey knew that tirade was aimed at him.
Bad Boys reunion
When: Friday, March 28, before the Pistons game against the Heat
Where: The Palace, Auburn Hills