Former Bad Boy John Salley says Dennis Rodman deserves to have his number retired
Salley said Rodman was the heart of the Pistons back-to-back NBA championship teams in 1989 and 1990 and deserves the recognition.
“They’re going to be playing a game to sell tickets, we’re just the sideshow,” Salley said in an interview before the Pistons game Saturday. “They have cheerleaders, they got halftime shows, they got all kinds of things to keep the fans entertained. What they’re really doing is paying homage to guy, who what he did on this squad, diving into (the stands), everyone thought he was doing it for show. Dennis would have ran into a locomotive if Chuck (Daly) said that’s the way we got to win. If he said knock down the wall, Dennis would have not waited to found out if he had utensils.
“This guy literally believed this was a family. He couldn’t understand why guys were going to get traded and why Chuck was released. He was oblivious to reality at that time. He was stuck in this Piston world with just one family. Then he was awakened that it was a family business. That’s when he started to realize it was all business. When he was here ... it was do or die. Red, white and blue.”
Salley, who is never one to hold back, also responded to Scottie Pippen’s comments that the Piston teams were a dirty team.
“There’s a saying: ‘It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,’ ” Salley said. “Then (former Pistons general manager) Jack McCloskey said, ‘It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s whether you win.’ That was the mentality, winning at all means. You leave it out there on the court. You don’t go away and say, ‘We’ll get you next time.’
“Guys who said we played dirty couldn’t have played in the ’80s and the ’70s. I watched those games in the ’80s and ’70s, and it’s how I learned to play that hard. You fouled a guy who needs to be fouled. If he’s going to the basket, you don’t give a knick-knack foul and then argue with the ref. You foul him so he knows, so the next guy coming behind him knows, so his team knows you can’t go in the lane. ... We beat them psychologically, and obviously it’s still working.”
Pippen was quoted in a story in the Chicago Tribune saying, “The Pistons were a nasty team. You always had to expect them to play dirty because, remember, they were the Bad Boys of Motown. They’d go out of their way to be mean and try to hurt you.
“And because we had better athletes, coach Chuck Daly just let them play the way they had to play to win. Bill Laimbeer was no real athlete. The same for Rick Mahorn and Joe Dumars and James Edwards. We were faster, quicker, more competitive and smarter.”
Salley agreed the Bulls might have been faster, but not smarter.
“They were more athletic — and they were younger,” Salley said. “But obviously not smarter because we’re not talking about him 22 years later. He’s talking about us.”