Let’s face it. We ask some dumb questions in sports writing. It is the only line of work I know where you can go up to a perfect stranger, pull out a notebook, and say: “So. How’s the groin?”
Still, if you really want to chuckle, you should hang around these NBA Finals. The national media is here. And if the questions following the Pistons’ Game 1 victory are any indication, some folks haven’t done much homework on Detroit.
REPORTER: Joe, I want to ask you how it feels to be a Bad Boy. What I mean, Joe, is, can you fit in here? You know, because you’re so quiet and everything. What do you think, Joe?
PLAYER: I’m Michael Williams. That’s Joe.
That’s not the worst of it. There are so many national rumors about our Detroit Bad Boys, you’d think they were only in these Finals thanks to their parole officers. First let me say this mix-up is completely understandable. Next let me say that we are here to help.
The following is an out-of-towner’s guide to the top20 misconceptions about the Bad Boys; first the rumor (in dark letters) then the truth. It is completely unbiased. Personally, I know know how some of this stuff gets started. For example:
1. Rick Mahorn loves to rip, yank and pull.
Yes. That’s how he eats. So what?
2. Pistons fans refuse to acknowledge their team plays rough, sometimes dirty basketball.
How stupid. How ridiculous. I refuse to acknowledge that question.
3. Are you Joe Dumars?
No. Sorry. That’s John Long.
4. Thompson is funnier than John.
Ridiculous. On Wednesday, Mychal Thompson offered this insight into Magic Johnson: “He’s hungry as a pit bull that hasn’t eaten in days.”
John Salley, meanwhile, was asked about pre-game kissing: “It’s nice for Isiah and Magic. But personally? The NBA starts kissing — Sal-Sal finds another job. I see Pearl Washington, I wanna grab his fist and say, ‘Yo, blood, you been lifting weights.” Not, ‘Hey, Pearl, where’d you get that lip gloss?’ “
I’m sorry. That’s funny.
5. Are you Joe Dumars?
Nope. That’s the team scout, Will Robinson.
6. When Vinnie Johnson is hot, he can hit from 65 feet away.
Unless he is wide open.
7. James Edwards likes to sit semi-naked, with his legs crossed, and a look of serene happiness on his face.
No, that’s the other Buddha.
8. John Salley never met an endorsement deal he didn’t like.
False. What about “Canine Converse: basketball shoes for your dog.” He turned that down, didn’t he?
9. Isiah, Magic and Mark Aguirre meet secretly to discuss taking over the league.
I doubt it. While I have never been invited to one of their get-togethers, I have overheard a few:
MAGIC: Remember when you —
ISIAH: Yeah . . . Haha!
AGUIRRE: HAHAHAHA! AND THEN WE —
MAGIC: AHAHAHAH, HOO-AAHA!
ISIAH: HEE-HEE-HEE, HAHAHA!
Sounds pretty harmless to me.
10. Joe Dumars?
Wrong again. That’s the equipment guy.
11. Chuck Daly sleeps in a Perry Ellis suit.
Be real. Everyone knows Ellis is for daytime.
12. Ennis Derbo.
Not Ennis Derbo. Not Finnis Dumbo. Not Fennel Copter. Not Ferson Dopler. Not Finian’s Rainbow. Not Fine Young Cannibal. His first name is Fennis. His last name is Dembo. What’s the matter? Everyone you know is named Dick and Harry?
13. The true Pistons fan believes every foul called against Detroit is part of a secret conspiracy to crush the Bad Boy image.
Heh-heh. How silly. Who told you that? Who do you work for? Who sent you? Damn it, start talking!
14. When he wants to be difficult, Rick Mahorn can be the most disgusting, foul-mouthed, lewd, rude, crude, insulting interview on the planet Earth.
Aw, he’s not rude.
15. Dennis Rodman waves his fists after every play because he is a hot dog.
That’s such a shallow interpretation.
16. Bill Laimbeer: dirtiest player in the NBA.
Completely false. I stay late after every game, and he always takes a shower.
17. The “X Factor” is some stupid nickname Rodman and Salley made up.
Actually, we thought the Lakers made it up, during Rob Lowe’s last visit to the Forum.
18. It once took the crowd so long to get out of the Palace parking lot, a man and woman met, fell in love, got married and had two kids.
19. Mahorn and Laimbeer are making a good deal of money off their Rolling Stone poster.
Wrong. A ton of money.
20. Laimbeer never said a nice word in his life.
Not true. There was, uh, well, wait a minute . . .
We’ll get back to you on that one. In the meantime, these should help. After all, the Pistons may not have the national glitz appeal of a Los Angeles team, but they’re going to win this championship. Our advice? Read up. Study hard. Don’t believe everything you hear.
Oh, and, by the way . . .
Joe Dumars just left.