The mid-1980s was known as the Bad Boy Pistons’ Era as their team featured players such as Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Rick Mahorn, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman, and John Salley. They terrorized the league during the 80s on their way to winning back to back championships in 1989 and 90.
Someone that they continued to terrorize was Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bull and were able to develop a defensive strategy called the ‘Jordan Rules,’ which was used to limit MJ’s effectiveness on offense. However, the Bulls countered that with the triangle offense. Fred “Tex” Winter was the architect and mastermind of the Triangle formation, which was designed to react based on defensive coverage along with passing and cutting patterns on offense.
The Chicago Bulls had a difficulty getting past the Pistons from 1988-1990 before being able to break through in 1991 finally. The Bulls would sweep the Pistons, and in the Final game of the Eastern Conference Finals against Chicago, Detriot could be seen walking off the court towards the locker room with 0.7.9 second left in the fourth quarter.
Speaking of John Salley, he is a former Pistons and had the opportunity to play with Michael Jordan during the 1996-1997 season. The season is known as simply the 72-10 Bulls, which ended with the Bulls beating the Seattle Supersonics in six games on their way to their fourth championship in six years.
Salley was recently interviewed by Heavy’ s Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson and shared this during the interview.
“The thing that stands out the most is that I believe the league wanted Michael to win the championship and I believe we got in the way,“ said John Salley on Scoop B Radio.
Salley also explained what made the difference between the Pistons being to eliminate the Bulls in 1990 to being swept the following year.
“I remember when Scottie got the migraine, and that was a big game for us, and we won that game and went to the championship in 1990,” he said.
“But then I remember Scottie becoming tough like mentally he became a different guy and they just came in and played tough.”
Salley also shared that he was always got the impression that the league wanted the Bulls to win. “The media was so against us,” he said.
“I always said it was eight against five when you played against the Bulls because the referees were wearing Jordans. You know and they probably had tattoos of Michael on their chest, so that’s what I remember them wanting their messiah to win.”
Former NBA referee, Derrick Stafford, who was a 30-year veteran, was featured on the Scoop B Radio. The two discussed why Michael Jordan was able to influence more calls in his direction compared to some of his peers in his era.
Stafford said without giving it much thought probably Jordan.
“One thing about Mike, he studied the rules as pretty much as anybody, so he knew the rules. So, even though he may have been a little upset, he would ask a question that he wanted the answer to. And then a lot of time he knew the answer already. So, he was smooth with the way he approached you because right away, you knew he knew the rules. So, you probably gave him a little more leeway than you would give someone else that was just spouting off and had no clue of what they were talking about,“ Stafford said.
“Mike didn’t get many technical fouls, but when he wanted one you knew there was no question about it. I will tell people; he got the same treatment of a lot of other great players. I mean great players really don’t it may appear they are getting breaks, but they don’t need them. He played through plays, he played overplays, he played underplays. Mike was just a smart basketball player so, he stayed out of foul trouble, he knew how many fouls he had, and when the other team was in the penalty. There were so many things that he knew that other people didn’t know.