On June 30, 2004, Bill Laimbeer was traded to the Detroit Pistons for Tayshaun Prince, Theo Ratliff and a draft pick. At first, most people didn’t care much for the trade, but then, it became clear that Laimbeer was actually a pretty good player. The Pistons finally found success, and he was able to make an impact in the playoffs. The Pistons’ first round loss to the Lakers was the only time Laimbeer was ever in the NBA’s Conference Finals, so, he must have been a pretty bad player.
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I have been thinking about Bill Laimbeer lately. He was one of the most feared players to ever play in the NBA. He did all the things that players are supposed to do; he grabbed rebounds, he blocked shots, he hit the open man. He even had an amazing four-year stretch where he was the NBA’s best defensive player. But after retiring, he became one the most hated athletes in recent memory, and I think I can finally explain why.. Read more about bill laimbeer net worth and let us know what you think.
When he played for the Detroit Pistons during the Bad Boys era, Bill Laimbeer wasn’t well-liked or respected — at least on the court. He was often involved in fights. He always gave it his all, yet he was seldom complimented by his opponents.
“If I didn’t know Bill, I wouldn’t like him either,” Isiah Thomas, a teammate and close friend, once remarked. What made him so despised? During his playing days, he spoke his views, but there’s a lot more to it than that.
With the Detroit Pistons, Bill Laimbeer had a reputation as an instigator.
During the 1987-1988 NBA season, Bill Laimbeer of the Detroit Pistons watches a game versus the Los Angeles Lakers at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles, California. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images/Rick Stewart)
While Thomas and Joe Dumars received a lot of the attention during the Pistons’ heyday, Laimbeer was the one doing the dirty labor — filthy being the operative word. The 6-foot-11 center was always involved in a scrum, a brawl, or an expulsion. He said he wasn’t a fighter despite being the victim of numerous left hooks.
“I’m not a fighter. In 1990, Laimbeer told Sports Illustrated, “I agitate, then go away.”
His antics enraged opponents, particularly members of the Boston Celtics, their fierce rivals.
Larry Bird told Sports Illustrated in 1986, “We don’t like him that much.”
“I’ve always been taught that if you can’t say anything good about someone, don’t say anything at all. So I’m not saying anything,” said Robert Parish, a former Celtics center who has had his share of fights with Laimbeer.
“You want me to say something about Laimbeer, eh?” Bill Walton added. But you won’t be able to print it.”
While many people despised Bill Laimbeer for his cheap shots, he had his own opinion as to why.
Because there’s never a bad moment to see Larry Bird smack Bill Laimbeer in the head with a basketball, here he is.
March 11, 2021 — Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports)
Laimbeer was born in Boston, but it didn’t make him popular among Celtics players or fans. He attended Palos Verdes High School in California before going on to Notre Dame to play college basketball. After his first year, Laimbeer was academically ineligible and dropped out. He reappeared for two years, mostly as a supporting character. In the third round of the 1979 NBA Draft, he was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
On the basketball floor, Laimbeer wasn’t the most athletic player.
Legendary Pistons coach Chuck Daly famously remarked, “Bill is the embodiment of the man running in sand.”
Even Laimbeer made a joke about himself. “I can’t think of anybody I can outjump now that the Whopper (Billy Paultz) is gone,” Laimbeer adds.
Perhaps it was because of his lack of athletic ability that Laimbeer was compelled to turn to his antics of flopping and cheap-shooting, which drew the wrath of opponents and opposing supporters. Laimbeer felt he was disliked for another reason throughout his playing days.
He stated in 1986, “I’m accustomed to being hated on a national basis since I went to Notre Dame.”
The lack of Laimbeer adoration extended well beyond Notre Dame.
Laimbeer has a bad reputation from the start. The Notre Dame hypothesis may have a part, but it is insignificant in compared to the actual cause. Opponents had had enough of his cheap shots, and his antics had caught up to him.
In 1986, Detroit assistant coach Dick Harter stated, “I was having breakfast with an NBA coach and his wife when Bill’s name came up in passing.” “As soon as she heard it, the wife threw her fork down and demanded, ‘What’s up with that guy?’ Does he hit his wife or something?’ I couldn’t believe she was that enthralled.
“However, I’ll tell you why most people dislike Bill. He is always putting forth a lot of effort. He comes after you with a vengeance, and he isn’t going to back down.”
Laimbeer’s teammates ridiculed him because of how despised he was.
Laimbeer was brushing his hair in the locker room at The Palace in Auburn Hills in the late 1980s, “to become good-looking for all my fans out there,” he said.
“All two of them,” a colleague confirmed.
Kurt Rambis of the Phoenix Suns, at the time, questioned if Laimbeer’s parents liked him.
“I have to believe his mother and father like Bill,” he continued, “but you’d have to double-check.”
So, was Laimbeer clever, filthy, or smart? Richie Adubato, the former coach of the Sallas Mavericks, said it best.
He replied, “I believe he mixes all three.” “He’s a smart guy. I believe he is filthy. He’s a fantastic actor. I believe he is a tough competition. I believe he’ll come out on top. To summarize, he’s a man that everyone despises.”
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