The Detroit Pistons are one of the most storied franchises in NBA history. With five conference titles, 11 division titles, and three NBA championships, a ton of legendary talent has helped contribute to that success. Although guys like Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady have worn the Pistons uniform, this list will specifically include players who contributed significant time to the organization and devoted themselves to the city’s culture.
Some honorable mentions include Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and Bob Lanier. Billups, Hamilton, and Prince were all key pieces in the 2004 championship team and embraced the city. Lanier was a Pistons legend who is the Pistons all-time scoring average leader and second in all-time rebounds.
5. Dennis Rodman:
Rodman embodied what it meant to be a Piston. His physical, aggressive play was too much for opposing players to handle. He is also widely considered the greatest rebounders in NBA history. During his time with Detroit, he was a part of the two-time champion “Bad Boys” squad and was a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the year, 1990 all-star, and two-time champ. Although he went forward to play for the rival Chicago Bulls, Rodman was drafted as to the Pistons and is still loved in the city to this day.
4. Bill Laimbeer:
In his 12 seasons with Detroit, Laimbeer was the most hated man in the sport. Not by Detroit, but by anyone they played. Laimbeer simply played his way. He didn’t follow the rules and just played so tenaciously that nobody wanted to guard him. Laimbeer is the Pistons all-time leading rebounder and second in games played. He was also a two-time champ as a player and came back to coach the WNBA’s Detroit Shock. The Shock would be champions in 2003, 2006, and 2008, giving Laimbeer 3 titles as a coach.
3. Ben Wallace:
A hall of famer, a champion, and a leader. Big Ben Wallace was the epitome of a Piston. In the early 2000s dominance of the Pistons, Ben was a four-time all-star, four-time defensive player of the year, six-time first-team all-defense, and of course a 2004 NBA champion. Wallace continues to be present within the organization, especially in the front office. He is widely considered one of the greatest defensive players in NBA history and has his number 3 retired by the Pistons.
2. Joe Dumars:
The sidekick to Isiah and the second-best scorer in team history, Dumars was committed to Detroit and was an integral part of the 1989-1990 championship teams. In Detroit, Dumars was a six-time all-star, four-time NBA all-defensive first team, and 2-time champ. He averaged 16.1 points, 4.5 assists, and 2.2 rebounds all on 46 percent. shooting over his 14-year career. Dumars also came back and became the GM of the Pistons for 14 seasons, in which he led them to a 595-536 record, six conference championships, and the 2004 title. His number 4 is hanging in the rafters at Little Caesars Arena.
1. Isiah “Zeke” Thomas:
Number 11. A Detroit Icon and one of the greatest athletes Detroit has ever seen. When he was drafted second overall in 1981, He made an immediate impact on a struggling Pistons franchise. Zeke came in and was the player that GM Jack McCloskey could build around. And he did. McCloskey would go on to acquire Laimbeer in a trade, draft Dumars and Rodman, and the Bad Boys were born. Isiah averaged 19.2 points, 9.3 assists, and 3.6 rebounds on 45 percent shooting in his 13 seasons with the team. He was a 12-time all-star, 2-time MVP, and 2-time champion and was the reason the Bad Boys became so successful. Isiah remains active around Detroit, attending Pistons games regularly and having his Cheurlin Champagne brand be the face of the Pistons. Number 11 is indeed retired, and is considered one of the greatest point guards the league has ever seen.
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