Anyone with any type of connection to the Detroit Pistons will tell you that the greatest coach in the franchise's robust history is one Chuck Daly.
While he never got the love or fanfare of some of his coaching counterparts, there is no denying the impact that he had on the game of basketball and how it is played today.
Daly and the Bad Boys ushered in a new style of play, focusing on defense, rebounding, and toughness. They turned basketball from a wide open, artsy game, into a man's game.
So why was he so successful in doing this?
Daly was a great motivator and had the ability to get his players to buy into what he was trying to accomplish.
When people think about dynasties, and yes, the Bad Boys were a dynasty, there seems to be a central figure that makes the team go. While Isaiah Thomas was one of the three greatest point guards of all time, the Bad Boy Pistons were the consummate team.
When a coach can convince the likes of Vinnie Johnson, Mark Aguire, and John Salley to come off the bench and buy into the system, it becomes evident that the players believe in what he is trying to do.
Players didn't gripe about lack of shots or minutes, and if they did it never got out into the public. Yes, times have changed and sports are more a part of mainstream media now, but I still believe that Daly was the type of coach who would address situations before they became harmful to the team.
A team's play reflects its' coach. If you are a laid-back coach, your team will play that way. If you are an intense and fiery coach, your team will play that way. It was evident that the Bad Boys reflected their coach.
But Daly was not just a basketball coach, he was a trend-setter, and a leader of men.
These kind of people are once in a generation types of personalities. He was stern without compromising the player's integrity. He was sarcastic and witty, and never took himself too seriously. Most of all, players loved playing for him, and I implore you to find any former player of his that will say a negative word about him.
Friday, before the Pistons defeated the Golden State Warriors, we discovered that the 78 year-old Daly had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. For those of you who aren't familiar with this specific type of cancer, the prognosis is bleak.
If we have learned anything from watching Daly's professional and personal life, we know that he will not go down without a fight. That's how he coached his team, and that's how he lives his life.
Daly, our thoughts and prayers go out to you during this trying time. Get well soon.