Luke Waltons Forehead presented by the Sports Dude.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005 at 9:01 AM

The Joe Dumars Post.

Joe Duuuuuumaaaaaaaarrrrrs!!!!!

That sound still rings in my head every time I see Joe D., now President of Basketball Operations for the Pistons, sitting and watching the team play. It is the sound that I grew up on, as a kid, every time he did anything in a Pistons uniform, whether it was the pre-game intro or him making a shot. While we are speaking about it, who could forget that shot, the high arching rainbow that seemed to touch the rafters every time he let it go. I mean, I think his style is the very definition of the rainbow shooting technique. He was the calm quiet one on the Pistons Bad Boy teams; one of the few that stayed to shake hands with the Bulls after MJ finally eliminated the Pistons, and a truly nice guy at heart. He is, in fact, the man that his airness, Michael Jordan, said was the one player that gave him fits on the defensive end of the floor. That, to me, should be enough to get him elected in, but I am not a voter, just a fan.

His on the court achievements are respectable, from MVP’s to All-Star games. He spent his entire 14 year playing career as a Piston, retiring after the 1999 season. His #4 jersey hangs from the rafters, with the likes of Isiah Thomas, Vinnie Johnson, Bob Lanier, Dave Bing, Bill Laimbeer and the #2 for Chuck Daly and his two championships won. He was the back court mate of Isiah Thomas on those Bad Boy teams which won back to back titles in the 1989 and 1990 seasons. He was voted Finals MVP after the 1989 win and was also an All-Star six times in his 14 year career. He holds the Pistons records for most games played (1,018), a team record 90% from the free throw line in 1990 and for threes made in a single game (10 against Minnesota on November 8, 1994). He is third in field goals attempted by a Piston (13,026), third in field goals made (5,994) and averaged 16.1 points, 4.5 assists for his career with percentages of 46% from the field and 38% from the free throw line. After he retired the league also renamed its sportsmanship award to the Joe Dumars Trophy to honor the way he carried himself on and off the court.

He also has had some success in the front office as well, something that not even Michael Jordan or Isiah Thomas have been able to achieve. He took over the reigns in 2001 as Pistons President of Basketball Operations and had to deal with a mess of a franchise without an identity. One of the first real tests for him was the Grant Hill situation and we all know how that turned out. He was forced to work a sign and trade with Orlando for some relatively unknown players, Chucky Atkins and Ben Wallace. Now we sit here and can say that it worked out quite well, we all know that Big Ben is the face of the modern day Pistons team. Dumars built a team of hard workers, cast offs and made them believe that they all could be special if they worked hard and focused on the team aspect of the game. Dumars himself was the ultimate team player, never one for chest thumping of individual accolades. He made a career out of being quiet, letting his play do the talking for him and he runs the Pistons much in the same manner. He got more involved in the international aspect of the game, finding such gems as Okur, Milicic and Delfino. He was awarded the 2003 Executive of the Year Award for his work and we all know what his determination resulted in last year – 2004 NBA Champs. He continues to make smart moves – McDyess, Rasheed, and Carlos Arroyo this year. He drafted Tayshaun Prince when no one else saw anything and went fired Rick Carlisle to get Larry Brown in another bold move. He isn’t afraid to take risks, he isn’t afraid to take chances and he has done a remarkable job at getting the Pistons back to respectability quicker than anyone could have honestly imagined. In the little time he has been in that front office he has turned the Pistons around to the way they were in his early playing days, a contender and not a pretender.

This is, however, his first year on the ballot and that is where the situation gets tricky. For whatever reason many voters out there feel that unless your name is Magic, Bird or Jordan you shouldn’t get in on your first try. Whatever their reasoning is I am not too sure, but it is likely to happen again. Joe Dumars has clearly cemented himself as someone who deserves to be in and whether or not it is on his first try remains to be seen. All I can say is he we know Joe – he will take whatever happens with grace, dignity and class, just like he was as a player for all those years. He will get in someday, that is for sure, and then we can officially say what we here in Detroit have known for years – he is one of the greatest to ever play the game, period. Thanks Joe, good luck and whenever it happens – congrats. The sports dude.

Blogger Leelanau Sports Guy said...

Dumars is my all-time favorite Piston, and this is a nice article on him.
What he has done has been a very nice story and it all comes down to one word that sums up Dumars, "Determination".  


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