What it's about: Just as the NBA was hitting its artistic apex in the 1980s thanks to Jordan, Wilkins, Magic, and Bird, the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons came out to prove that basketball was still a physical game. Through strength and fundamentals, speed, toughness and a touch of brilliance and imagination from point guard Isiah Thomas, they changed the sport in the late-'80s and proved that no matter how flashy your top scorer might be, defense still wins championships.
What it's really about: Persistence. To be the best, you've got to beat the best, which meant falling short to Bird's Celtics, often in grueling contests. It meant creating the famous "Jordan Rules" to hold back history's greatest player. And it meant being within three points of the ultimate goal before losing a game seven to the Lakers in 1988. The Pistons finally won back-to-back titles the following seasons, and a championship is so much sweeter when you've put in the work, learned from mistakes, and redefined your sport in the process. Or in the words of Isiah, quoting the Ohio Players: "Heaven must be like this!"Back to top