Over the weekend, one of my dad's records was broken.
I'm not sad that this particular record was broken,
but I am a bit conflicted about it.
The record I'm talking about is the PISTONS longest losing streak.
Toward the end of my dad's fifth year as Owner of the PISTONS, our team went on a twenty-one game losing skid, which carried over into the next season.
I remember this time very well.
I was ten years old.
The tough crowd of auto-workers at the Pontiac Silverdome used to throw their popcorn and beers at us.
They'd yell, "Davidson you're a bum!"
"Sell the team!"
"You don't know what you're doing!"
My dad was a guy who didn't react to very much.
So we sat there, night after night, loss after loss.
Getting shit thrown at us.
It made quite an impression on me.
Bob Lanier demanded a trade.
Bob McAdoo refused to play.
The fans howled at us.
"Davidson you're a bum!"
My father was stoic.
He was too busy studying players, coaches, and the game itself to be bothered with all the insults.
My dad watched a lot of basketball.
I mean to say he watched a lot of basketball.
And he studied people.
He got to know the personalities of everyone around the basketball world; and it was in this way that he was gradually able to determine which players, coaches and executives he needed to dig the PISTONS out of their hole.
So, just before the twenty-one game losing streak began, my father had hired a little-known journeyman assistant coach, with a mixed record, to be the PISTONS new General Manager. The guy's name was Jack McCloskey.
It took Jack about two years to clean house. We went for 37 wins, and 127 losses over that stretch, including the twenty-one game losing streak.
In the summer of 1981, Jack and my dad drafted Isiah Thomas, and traded for Bill Laimbeer and Vinnie Johnson. Retaining John Long from the previous season, we suddenly had four of the future Bad Boys. We went 39 and 43 that next season.
Two years later we made the playoffs.
Four years after that, we were in NBA Finals.
The rest is well-known history.
Here's a picture of Bill Laimbeer, my dad, and Isiah Thomas, at the Stage Deli in Detroit: three guys that lived, breathed and studied basketball.
It's the only way to win in the NBA.