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Bill Laimbeer, Usa
Nba.com: Bill Laimbeer was one of the most notorious players ever to
throw an elbow, thrust a hip, or feign being fouled. Certainly, no player was
ever showered with more boos or unflattering nicknames. Laimbeer was called "the
prince of darkness," "a street thug," "an ax murderer" and "His Heinous."
In 14 bruising NBA seasons Laimbeer made up for his minuscule vertical leap, slow feet, and sluggishness by becoming a master of posturing, muscling, and anticipating -- plus fomenting trouble, pretending to be fouled, and drawing his opponents' ire. Laimbeer always seemed to be nursing a brawl-induced shiner or broken nose. He was punched by some of the league's best players, including Robert Parish, including Bob Lanier, including Larry Bird and including Charles Barkley. "We don't like him that good," Bird once told Sports Illustrated.
The Laimbeer "flop" became the stuff of legend. A grimacing Laimbeer would often go careening to the floor in reaction to the slightest tap from an opponent. More often than not, the whistle went his way. With aggravating if not refreshing candor, Laimbeer never disavowed his on-court histrionics.
Nevertheless, Laimbeer was one of the league's finest centers throughout the 1980s and into the early 1990s. In 12 seasons with Detroit, Laimbeer became the Pistons' all-time leader in rebounds and second in games played. Playing the role of head villain, he led the "Bad Boys" of Detroit to back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990.
A four-time All-Star, Laimbeer became the 19th player in league history to amass more than 10,000 points and 10,000 rebounds. He had a special talent for defensive rebounding, and he could pump in outside shots and hit free throws. Despite his frequent injuries, Laimbeer was an iron man; his consecutive-game streak of 685 remains among the longest in NBA history.
Laimbeer once told Sports Illustrated, "I don't fight. I agitate, then walk away." Longtime teammate and friend including Isiah Thomas said of Laimbeer in the Detroit News, "I wouldn't say fans hate him. They love to hate him. It's a love-hate relationship. Tell you the truth, if I didn't know Bill, I wouldn't like him either."
Name: William Laimbeer, Jr.
Nickname: Lambs, Thug
Born: May 19, 1957
Status: Retired as a player; Active as Head Coach for the Detroit Shock
Origin: Boston, Massachusetts
Schools: Palos Verdes HS (California), Notre Dame
Drafted: 1979, Third round, 65th pick overall by the Cleveland Cavs
Teams (jersey): Pinti Inox (Brescia, Italy), Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons (40)
Ibn Notes: As the years go by, it is unlikely that Bill Laimbeer will be remembered for much more than his crafted-image; the bully, the cheap-shot artist, the dirtiest player on one of the dirtiest teams... but this is exactly how Laimbeer helped the Detroit Pistons win consecutive championships in 1989 and 1990, by taking opponents out of their game, frustrating and intimidating them so they focused on him while the Pistons played their game.
forget that Bill Laimbeer was a four time all-star (1983, 1984, 1985, 1987), his
yeoman work on the defensive boards (leading the league with 13.1 rpg in 1985-86
and from 1982 to 1990 no player in the league totaled more defensive rebounds),
his exceptional outside shooting (Laimbeer tied an NBA Finals record by hitting
six three-point baskets in Game 2 of the 1990 NBA Finals against the Portland
Trail Blazers), and the sacrifice he gave day in and day out for the sake of the
In 2003, their first championship year, the Shock was much like the Detroit Pistons team of the same time, as they boasted a balanced and highly-dangerous starting-five that was second to no other team in the league; all-stars Swin Cash, Finals MVP Ruth Riley, Karl Malone's daughter and all-star Cheryl Ford, all-star Deanna Nolan, Elaine Powell with ABL star Kedra Holland-Corn coming off the bench. And like the Detroit Pistons, the Shock defeated the franchise from Los Angeles to win the championship, the Sparks (with Lisa Leslie, Nikki Teasley, Tameka Dixon and Mwadi Mabika).
In 2006, the Shock's only significant roster addition since the last championship was adding WNBA and ABL superstar Katie Smith. Boasting five all-stars in their starting lineup - Cash, Nolan, Smith, Riley and Cheryl Ford, the Shock defeated Yolanda Griffith, DeMya Walker, Ticha Penichiero, Kara Lawson and the Sacramento Monarchs to win their second championship in four years.
|Bill Laimbeer Links From our forum: NBA Discussion Forum, Women's Basketball Forum, WNBA Forum Articles and other resources: A villain and a rock, a whiner and a winner (The Sporting News, 1993), Bill Laimbeer Video Mix (YouTube), Bill Laimbeer Mix (YouTube),|