Bill Laimbeer chooses different path, escalates feud with ‘whining’ Bulls


Isiah Thomas believes if the Pistons could do it all over again, they would have made a different decision and shook hands with the Bulls following the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals sweep, as re-visited for a sports-starved country in the documentary series, “The Last Dance.”

Thomas’ teammate Bill Laimbeer disagrees, even adding fuel to the fire by calling Michael Jordan and the Bulls “whiners.”

“Why would I regret it now, today? I don’t care what the media says about me. I never did,” Laimbeer, the face of the Pistons’ physical style, said on ESPN on Monday. “If I did, I’d be a basket case, especially back then.

“I was about winning basketball games and winning championships and did whatever I had to do to get the most out of my ability and our team — and we did. At the end of the day, we’re called world champions.”

The Pistons eliminated the Bulls three consecutive years from the playoffs, before the Bulls finally got past the notorious “Bad Boys.” With 7.9 seconds left and the Bulls up 21 points in Game 4 of a sweep, the Pistons walked off the floor without shaking hands or congratulating the Bulls. Jordan would hold a grudge against Thomas from then on.

Bill Laimbeer against the Bulls
Bill Laimbeer against the BullsFocus on Sport via Getty Images

“They whined and cried for a year and a half about how bad we were for the game, but more importantly, they said we were bad people,” Laimbeer said. “We weren’t bad people. We were just basketball players winning, and that really stuck with me because they didn’t know who we were or what we were about as individuals and our family life.

“But all that whining they did, I didn’t want to shake their hand. They were just whiners. They won the series. Give him credit: We got old, they got past us. But OK, move on.”

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