It has been 25 years since the Detroit Pistons won their first title and yet still few teams in sports history elicit such a wide range of emotions as the “Bad Boys” Pistons of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Tonight’s debut of the latest 30 for 30, Bad Boys, (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) features interviews with Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman, Adrian Dantley and Mark Aguirre among many others, providing viewers an inside look at what made this team tick.
Front Row caught up with Thomas in advance of the film’s debut:
You’ve seen the film. Do you feel that it captures the heart and soul of the Bad Boys era?
Yes, it was very comprehensive — you can see the hard work they put into the documentary and telling our stories as athletes and as men. It also captured the talent and mentality of that era — at that time all teams were rough – and we were really the last team of that generation of play. There were real rivalries and every player competed hard for their team — everyone was loyal and always protected their teammates. Our mentality, and the mentality of the Lakers, Celtics, everyone, was that there is no “i” in “team.” So I think the film captured that spirit very well.
What is your favorite part of Bad Boys?
It’s hard to pick a favorite part because there were so many great and heartbreaking moments. The documentary does show our loyalty and commitment to each other. We were bonded together by ordinary and sometimes extraordinary circumstances. After we won our first NBA title, I remember the day of the parade. Still to this day, it brings back so many great memories.
Aside from this documentary, do you have other favorites from ESPN Films?
Definitely. The Fab Five is at the top of my list.
Are there any current NBA teams that have a little “Bad Boy spirit” in them?
Well the rules have changed. Still, the team that carries the defensive mindset we had right now is the Chicago Bulls. They really try to defend every single night and make it tough for you to score.
Joe Dumars recently announced he is stepping down as Pistons president. Would you consider a return to the team in a coaching or management capacity?
I love the game and basketball is my passion. Basketball is about getting in the right spot at the right time. So it would have to be with the right people at the right time. I love the Pistons and Detroit. I always will. Any way I can be of assistance to them and the city, I will try to help.
A special one-hour presentation, “Grantland’s Bad Boys Remix,” featuring Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose, will air on ESPN immediately following the premiere of “Bad Boys.”