ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 series will continue with Bad Boys, on Thursday, April 17, at 8pm ET. Full details via press release from the network follow below:
Few teams in professional sports history elicit such a wide range of emotions as the Detroit Pistons of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. For some, the team was heroic – made up of gritty, hard-nosed players who didn’t back down from anyone. For others, it was their willingness to do seemingly anything to win that made them the “Bad Boys” – the team fans loved to hate.
The Pistons’ path to championship greatness was a hard-won journey through a pantheon of Hall of Famers of the era. First, Detroit had to overcome Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics; then, Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers. Finally, their battles with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls helped define their identity.
“Bad Boys” features interviews with Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman, Adrian Dantley and Mark Aguirre among many others, providing viewers an inside look at what made this team tick: the toughness established by Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn; the quiet intensity of Dumars; the jolt of electricity personified by Vinnie Johnson; the fearlessness of Rodman and the comic relief provided by John Salley. But no player defined the Bad Boys more than Thomas, a lethal combination of sweetness on the outside and toughness within. All of this mixed with the grit, professionalism and style possessed by head coach Chuck Daly made for one of the most distinctive championship teams in NBA history.
“It has been 25 years since the Pistons won their first title, providing a perfect vantage point to reflect on the Bad Boys phenomenon and why it has left such a lasting impression on the NBA landscape,” said Connor Schell, VP and executive producer, ESPN Films and Original Content. “Regardless of whether fans loved or hated the legendary characters of this Pistons era, the story – as told through the eyes of those who lived it – will provide a different perspective for those who followed this team while showcasing both the accomplishments and antics of the Bad Boys for many who may be newer NBA fans.”
In addition to presenting interviews with the Pistons, “Bad Boys” contains a lineup of Hall of Famers who faced the team, including Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Kevin McHale, Dominique Wilkins and James Worthy, as well as insights from future Hall of Famer and former NBA Commissioner David Stern.
“The Detroit Pistons of the ‘80s and ‘90s are one of the most-talked-about teams of their era and now fans will have the chance to judge their place in NBA history,” said Danny Meiseles, President and Executive Producer, Content, NBA. “The Pistons’ championship runs were the first covered extensively by NBA Entertainment in an “all access” style, which provides us with a unique opportunity to tell the story of this team through rarely seen footage and new interviews with players, coaches, rivals, Hall of Famers, and journalists who witnessed the team.”
A special one-hour presentation, “Grantland’s Bad Boys Remix,” featuring Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose, will air immediately following the premiere of “Bad Boys” on ESPN. Simmons and Rose will be joined by special guests Isiah Thomas and Doug Collins to discuss both the film and the highs and lows of the Pistons, and will be a part of Grantland’s “Detroit Week” package kicking off April 14th. A full multimedia package consisting of long form written features about the historic city, as well as Detroit-themed podcasts on the Grantland Network, “Detroit Week” will not only be a comprehensive celebration of the Motor City, but also an online companion to “Bad Boys.”