LA Lakers and Detroit Pistons: NBA Rivalries, Where Have They Gone?

Justin DargahiContributor IMarch 24, 2010

I remember growing up as a little kid caring about one thing and one thing only, sports.

To me, nothing else mattered. Not sleeping, not school, not rolling around in dirt. Only sports.

The first sporting event that I remember watching was the 1988 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Detroit Pistons, otherwise known as Showtime versus the Bad Boys.

Actually I do recall bits and pieces of Super Bowl XXI between the Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos earlier that year, but I digress.

I can still remember the Pistons and Lakers series as if it were yesterday, and just how highly contested the entire series was.

The Pistons, or the Bad Boys, were my favorite team growing up and still are to this day.

I still can't tell you what made them my favorite team. 

It might be because there was no NBA team in Tampa where I grew up.

Or maybe because their colors were red, white and blue, or because a piston just sounded cool.

Maybe it was because everyone that didn't like them, including my father, hated them with a passion.

They acted more like schoolyard bullies than basketball players and they never stopped trash talking.

When they fouled someone, they wanted to make sure that player would never get up.

They were your traditional overachievers that nobody else seemed to want on their own teams.

They were blue collar, just like the city in which they called home.

But I think the thing that stood out the most to me about the Pistons, is I could tell how much they seemingly wanted to win, something you hardly see this day in age.

Sadly, the Pistons went on to lose the series in seven games.

I cried after the heartbreaking 103—102 loss in game six.

My hero, Isiah Thomas, scored a record 25 points in the third quarter dispite badly spraining his ankle halfway through the frame.

Amazingly, Thomas missed just 35 seconds before coming back into the game. Nowadays don’t players miss months with sprained ankles?

I cried again after game seven, where the Lakers squeaked out another close 108-105 win en route to their second consecutive championship.

I couldn't help buy wondered what the Detroit players were doing in the locker room, as I sat crying, I felt so bad for them.

Surely, if a 7-year-old kid that wasn't even playing in the game was crying, then the players must be on some sort of a suicide watch.

They gave their heart and soul for eight long months only to see the championship slip away in the last game of the season because of an injury.

I think I would be right to assume some of the players like Thomas, Joe Dumars, Bill Laimbeer, Rick Mahorn, Vinnie Johnson and Dennis Rodman (yes, that Dennis Rodman, before the rainbow hair and dresses of course) probably all wanted to crawl under a rock for the next four months until it was again time to chase that elusive goal of winning a championship.

Thankfully for myself and Pistons fans around the world, Detroit exacted revenge the following year with a four—game sweep of the Lakers to win its first championship.

However, the Lakers and Piston rivalry isn't the best rivarly of the decade, although the Lakers are half of the bout. That honor is bestoyed to the Boston Celtics and the Lakers. 

But now it seems that times' have changed and rivalries are now extinct when it comes to professional sports.


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