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A LEAGUE OF ISIAH'S OWN -- History of the NBA Finals Part 39

Updated on January 20, 2020

The NBA in 1987 would see the edition of two players you will read alot about -- Horace Grant and Scottie Pippen.

Pippen was a marvel, and Grant was getting there.

The story of Horace Grant in Chicago is a terrible tale.

The guy was the whipping boy. He bared the brunt for alot of their failures. But it won't get really bad until Chicago trades away the starting power forward Charles Oakley who Michael really liked.

But for now, Jerry Krause had in fact got Michael some great young talent.

And in 1988, Jordan would average 37 points a game to win the MVP, the All-star Game MVP, and the Slam Dunk Contest.

Also Bird got a haircut.

Before "Can't Hardly Wait" was another chick film I liked very much -- "League Of Their Own" (1992)

So we start right outside the Basketball Hall of Fame, where Isiah Thomas is old and looking around, waiting to take in the memories....


Pistons basketball around this time was regarded the same way as the All American Girls Baseball League.

Oh commmme on commissioner, I don't have players I have THUGS!!!!


But Tom Hanks soon realized that he had one player in particular who was a freaking natural. One of the very best.

His name was Isiah Thomas.

He was the Pistons' Dotty. (Geena Davis)

"Do you like basketball?" Daly asked him one day on the team plane.

"Uh...sure." Thomas responded.

To which Daly stared at him for a few moments...."Cuz you play it like you LOVE it."

"Oh...thank you sir."

There was a cast of characters on the Pistons very similar to League of their Own.

You had Rosie O'Donnell, who was escaping a terrible life at home back in Oklahoma...that was Dennis Rodman.

You had Madonna -- that was John Salley.

You had the hot ass Kit -- that was Joe Duuuuuuumars.

You had the Georgia Peach, the blond who once beaned a dude with a baseball -- that was Laimbeer.

You had the scary looking one who could hit a ton, Marla Hooch -- that Rick Mahorn.

Marla was in the fact the first one of the champion Pistons to leave, remember?

There was Adrian Dantley who would learn her husband was killed in the war...and would leave before a championship was even in the picture.

And of course you had the very good Vinnie Johnson, who missed the cut off man at times but would also delight the team bus with her fat asshole kid -- Stillwell Angel.


Alright, but anyway...

The Pistons came from cities "near and far", but when first discovered, many were on farms in places like Oklahoma and Wyoming and Colorado.

They came to the NBA and learned and did majestically.

But on top of all their other personal stuff, Isiah wanted to leave for a good portion of their tenure.

"Listen," Daly said. "Basketball is what gets inside you. It's what lights you up. There's no denying that!"

"Coach," Thomas said, "We suck. It's getting way too hard."

"Of course it's hard! If it were easy everybody would do it! It's the hard...that makes it great."

As the Pistons beat the Bulls and Celtics on their way to the 1988 NBA Finals, the Lakers from Rockford would await.

But the Pistons were not the favorites. It looked in fact like the franchise would be better off being sold.

But Jack McCloskey had faith in them. And the owners and shareholders would go to the Finals like they always see how right they were...

Isiah sprains his ankle in the second quarter of Game 6, which could be the clinching game.

Daly is shocked then to see Isiah out on the court by the third quarter, limping.

"Well...I mean I don't care," Daly said. "I mean...if you want to play, can play."

"I will."

And so Daly went back to the bench.

"Hey look like shit, don't you ever shave?"

And it was then that Daly smiled to himself. "We're gonna win. We're gonna WIN!!!"

Sure enough Dotty goes out there on one leg and scores 25 points, bringing the Pistons to within striking distance of the title.

They're down by 1 with about 12 seconds left.

Daly runs a play for Dumars.

Dumars...goes in and misses BADLY.

"Yes um..." Tom Hanks said to him. "Why would you throw a ball up with your eyes closed...when YOU HAVE THE GAME CLINCHING PLAY?!!! YOU LET BYRON SCOTT GET THE BALL BACK AND NOW WE'RE FUCKING FINISHED!!!!"

What are you crying?


So the Lakers win Game 6, and Game 7 is two days later.

The Lakers look like they got it in a rout.

They lead by 16 with 4 minutes.

Suddenly the girls get it within 2 with a minute remaining!

But they lose.

The Los Angeles Lakers were the 1988 NBA World Champions, and the first team to repeat since 1969.

I have seen enough to know I have seen enough.

So the Pistons walk off deflated, but the shareholders approach Jack McCloskey.

"I think we'll continue to give it a go," they say riveted. "These guys are good."


So back to the Hall of Fame.

Isiah shows up and sees all his old friends. They're all there as the corny happy music plays and they're all hugging.

In they go to the Hall of Pistons.

Look at all those pictures, remember? Remember? Awwwwwww....

But someone's missing from the preceedings. Tom Hanks.

Isiah goes up to the Chuck Daly monument...where it says he died recently.

And they bust into a song like in the old days:

"We are...the gheeeettto ass Pis-tons/we like to knock you/up-side the head...


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