Rick Mahorn (44) was a pivotal member of the Pistons' NBA championship in the 1988-89 season, but was made available in the following season's expansion draft, eventually ending up with the Philadelphia 76ers, where he faced former teammate Bill Laimbeer (left). (Getty Images)
This is the ninth in a series of stories leading to the reunion of the Pistons Bad Boys team Friday at The Palace.
The Pistons did not enjoy their first NBA championship for long. Within hours of waving brooms during a parade downtown following their 1989 sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers, Rick Mahorn sat in his apartment with teammates Vinnie Johnson and James Edwards.
They were angry, bitter and hurt. They were buddies and needed to be together after news leaked that Mahorn was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the expansion draft.
He was a rough 6-foot-10 presence the Pistons depended on. But he also had back issues, and that is why general manager Jack McCloskey pulled a switch and left Mahorn unprotected instead of Edwards. who had already been in contact with the Timberwolves. McCloskey could protect only eight of 12 players and spent time on the phone trying to work a trade to keep Mahorn.
“It was pretty bittersweet,” Mahorn said. “That is just one of those highs and lows of sports. But the way I looked at it, there were new things on the horizon. At least I got to play with Hall of Fame player Charles Barkley.”
Mahorn never played with the Timberwolves because he did not want to play for them and was traded to the Sixers.
“I was hurt because he was one of my best friends,” Edwards said. “It was hard to accept at the time. There were a lot of emotions going on at the time. Rick was the ultimate Bad Boy and to leave like that we couldn’t even celebrate.”
Mahorn, a current Pistons analyst, returned and played from 1996-1998.
Bad Boys reunion
When: Friday before the Pistons game against the Heat
Where: The Palace, Auburn Hills
Thursday: Trouble with Dennis Rodman