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Former ‘Bad Boys’ like Pistons' old-school approach

Terry Foster
The Detroit News

Rick Mahorn admits he gets a little lump in his throat when he sees Pistons players parading around in “Bad Boys” gear.

Reggie Jackson wore a “Bad Boys” cap during a news conference Monday to make official his five-year, $80 million deal.

Marcus Morris did the same after he was acquired from the Suns via trade.

Both players talked about toughness. And they often tout the “Detroit versus Everybody” mantra.

It was the same mentality the Bad Boys used to win NBA titles in 1989 and 1990. Mahorn and his teammates always felt like underdogs, and that’s how this year’s players could view themselves.

“It is more of a following that never left,” Mahorn said of players and celebrities wearing the Bay Boys gear. “It is a connection with the past with the present.”

Mahorn, a burly 6-foot-11 forward/center, was one of the original Bad Boys, along with center Bill Laimbeer. They were the tough guys inside that protected Isiah Thomas and Co.

The Bad Boys played during one of the toughest eras in basketball. The Celtics, Knicks and Lakers were physically and mentally tough. And the Bulls eventually became the same.

The current Pistons have talked about being tough. And Mahorn said they must learn it’s better to be mentally tough than physically tough as they begin their climb up the NBA ladder.

And, he added, it’s important to show how tough they are on the court — without bragging.

“Toughness is mental,” Mahorn said. “You can be built and be physically fit and cut up, but it does not mean you are tough.”

“They aren’t Bad Boys yet,” former Bad Boy James Edwards said, laughing. “But it makes me feel good to see (them honoring us). ... For those few years we ruled the league and we were the toughest team. I am glad those guys are paying respect to us. They are trying to do the same thing in their era.”

But, Edwards said the bottom line is winning, no matter how the team gets it done.

“You can’t play like that with the physicality,” he said. “It’s about playing hard and putting it all out on the floor, giving your team a chance to win. I think this team can do that.”

terry.foster@detroitnews.com

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