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  Thu, June 17, 2004


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Meet the Pistons
NBA champions have a bit of everything
By BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

ALL RIGHT, everybody, sing along to the tune of The Flintstones:

"Pistons ... meet the Pistons ... they're a modern sporting family.

"From the ... town of Detroi


All right, everybody, sing along to the tune of The Flintstones:

"Pistons ... meet the Pistons ... they're a modern sporting family.

"From the ... town of Detroit ... they embarrassed Shaq and poor Kobe."

So just who are these Detroit Pistons, the gang that won the NBA championship in a five-game cakewalk over Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and the rest of the previously powerful Los Angeles Lakers?

- The Pistons are coach Larry Brown, a vagabond who began his coaching career before disco. Brown said he didn't need an NBA title to validate his work, but we're betting it will be nice to have that validation in the pocket of his bathrobe as he putters around the old-age home.

- The Pistons are Ben Wallace, the man with the afro. The defensive stalwart's 18-point, 22-rebound performance in the deciding game was a true indication of his uniqueness. Simply put, the day the Pistons started on the long road to a title was the day Big Ben became their heart and soul.

- The Pistons are Rasheed Wallace, but for how much longer remains to be seen. The former problem-child was on his best behaviour through the championship run, but we'll see if he continues to be a good citizen once he gets his new contract, be it in Detroit or somewhere else.

- The Pistons are Chauncey Billups, who emerged from a field of four or five legitimate Pistons candidates to be named the most valuable player of the final. The Raptors and four other teams couldn't get rid of Billups fast enough early in his career, but who's laughing now?

- The Pistons are Richard (Rip) Hamilton, the man in the protective mask. Rip had an up-and-down final, but he emerged as a star if you consider the playoffs in their entirety. When Michael Jordan was running the Washington Wizards, he gave up on Hamilton and traded him. This proves once again that the greatest players often are the worst judges of talent.

- The Pistons are Tayshaun Prince, the skinny, long-armed freak of nature who harassed Bryant into virtual submission. Why did the Raptors pass on this guy in the 2002 draft?

- The Pistons are a supporting cast that includes ex-Raptors Corliss Williamson and Lindsey Hunter, Mehmet Okur, Elden Campbell, Mike James, Darvin Ham and Darko Milicic. Everyone except the 18-year-old Milicic had some significant role to play in the final, and he's the Pistons' biggest hope for the future. Remember all the heat the Pistons took for drafting Milicic instead of Carmelo Anthony with the second overall pick last spring? How would the Pistons' much-lauded chemistry have been affected had they taken Anthony? Would they still be champions today?

- The Pistons are president of basketball operations Joe Dumars, the man with the plan. The fact that Dumars, a former great Pistons player, has led the club back to glory must be gnawing at his old backcourt mate Isiah Thomas.

- Finally, the Pistons are owner Bill Davidson, the soft-spoken senior citizen who wears the same windbreaker whether he's in Detroit accepting the Larry O'Brien Trophy or in Tampa accepting the Stanley Cup on behalf of the Lightning, which he also owns.

Shaq and Kobe obviously are well-known media figures, their notoriety coming in both positive and negative forms. But looking at things objectively, the Pistons actually have more personality, top to bottom, than the Lakers.

So let's get to know the new champions: "Pistons ... meet the Pistons ..."

Trust us, it's far easier to meet the Pistons than to beat the Pistons.









Do you like the new-look Raptors heading into the 2013-14 NBA season?
  Yes, new GM made great moves
  No, they will still be a terrible team
  Unsure what to make of it


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