Every story needs a villain. LeBron has the Warriors. Me? It’s snacking after midnight. For Michael Jordan, it was the Bad Boys.

The Bad Boys

The Bad Boys

were the greatest and most productive era of basketball in the history of the Detroit Pistons.  They were the bridge from the NBA of old, to Jordan’s NBA.  The NBA we all still clamor for.  None of this friendly, jersey swapping, hand-holding, team up garbage.

I’m talking about your Daddy’s NBA.  The era where players would get mauled, start a royal rumble, shoot free throws and continue the game.  The Bad Boy Pistons didn’t three peat or win 10 straight titles.  They built a team, had a run, and gave the greatest player of all time his toughest challenge. Every story needs a villain, and the Bad Boys were the NBA’s greatest villains.  The Bad Boys stopped the greatest from getting his with three simple words.

These are the Jordan Rules.

The Greatest

Bad Boys Pistons

Now by all means, I think Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time, and we Pistons fans are the only fans who can lay claim to stopping the GOAT.  The Pistons were the big bad villain, who cheap-shotted and roughed up the superstar.  In Four matchups with the Pistons, Mike only won one series, but he ended the run, so that’s why he gets all the credit.  .

Remember every story needs a villain, and the Pistons were a major roadblock for the Bulls. The Pistons had Jordan IN HELL thanks to the Jordan Rules.  THEE defensive strategy designed to “Limit Jordan’s effectiveness”, and by all means they did.

Jordan was 1-3 against the Pistons in the playoffs, he had people questioning his ability to lead and he even had people questioning his ability to win.  Yes, that Michael Jordan. The man that we debate being the greatest off all time was in HELL, thanks to the Jordan Rules.

The Jordan Rules

The Jordan rules went as follows:

  • If Michael was at the point, we forced him left and doubled him.
  • On the left wing, we went immediately to a double team from the top.
  • If he was on the right wing, we went to a slow double team.
  • And if he was on the box, we doubled with a big guy
  • The other rule was, any time he went by you, you had to nail him.

Physicality was the name of the game.  The Jordan Rules were not only defensive guidelines to guarding Michael Jordan, they were mind games.  Rick Mahorn said the team used “The Jordan Rules” to get in the head of the legend. When Jordan came into the league, he was the chosen one.  Jordan was supposed to bring balance to the force or whatever that Star Wars stuff says. The problem was, Jordan couldn’t get over the hump.

The Legend Begins

In 1985, he lost 3-1 to the Bucks, and Jordan got swept by the Celtics in 1986 and 1987. In 1988,he gave us his first playoff series win with, The Shot.  His first series against the Pistons was in the 1988 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals and Jordan was kept in check.  The Jordan Rules were effective as the Pistons held (Well relatively.  He’s Michael Jordan.) Jordan to 27 points and beat the Bulls 4-1.  The Pistons would go on to lose to the Lakers in the NBA Finals.

In 1989 Jordan would fail again, as the Pistons won their first title.  So, in 1990, surely the third time would be the charm? NOPE BACK TO BACK BABY.  The Pistons reign ended in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals, when Michael Jordan and the Bulls finally vanquished their greatest foe, sweeping Detroit.

Jordan shoots over Dumars

With seconds left in Game Four the Pistons kept the tradition alive (Started by Boston) the team walked off the floor without shaking the hands of their opponents. Isiah Thomas did not play on “The Dream Team” due to this incident.  Michael Jordan had reportedly agreed to participate on The Dream Team only if Isiah was not on the squad.

The Bad Boys Run

The Bad Boys spectacular run was the story here. They will always be a major plot point in the story arc and evolution of Michael Jordan’s career.  The Pistons were the catalyst to make Michael Jordan obsessed with winning. The man hit the weight room, got stronger, stayed in the gym longer and did what he had to do, to get past his greatest foe.

In a world that admires villains, the Bad Boys were the ultimate big bads. Remember, every story needs a villain and the Bad Boys were the greatest.

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DeQwan Young - Filmmaker