Luke Waltons Forehead presented by the Sports Dude.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 11:12 AM

Dear Pistons...

Dear Pistons –

I just wanted to write you, yet again, to simply say thank you for one of the best stretches in basketball I have ever seen. I have been watching you, the Pistons that is, since I was 10 years old, that would be 1987 to be exact. That was about the time that I started to pick up a ball and play in my driveway with one and only one goal in mind… beating my dad. That is right, just a father and son on any given afternoon day playing ball in their driveway and having fun. Now my dad was not a basketball person, in fact he was a baseball man at heart and hoped his boy would be the same, but he was still out there shooting hoops and taking it to his son until the day came that I could beat him. The day did eventually come, although it took a couple years, but I remember that day was one of the happiest of my life, I finally beat my dad, straight up, fair and square and once I did he never beat me again. Sure we still played but not as much as before because he was satisfied that he gave me the desire to win, to be the best and to move on to bigger and better opponents. In fact, and this one is for you Ben, one of his favorite things to do why he was beating me was to let me get close and then use the “Hack-A-Sports-Dude” strategy to cause me to lose it at the line. I was horrible at the free throws but the day I beat him, finally, you know how I clinched it? At the free throw line Ben, it was all mental, not physical, so it is possible.

As far as my love for the Pistons it has been a never ending love affair and regardless of tonight’s outcome I will not jump ship, I will not fall off the bandwagon, I will not leave. I have been threw the good times and the bad, I have been through the thick and thin with you guys. I remember how you ran Chuck Daly out of town with Ron Rothstein, I remember Laimbeer retiring and Isiah and him fighting in practice. I remember the Orlando Woolridge’s and the Bison Dele’s, the Loy Vaught and the Christian Laetner experiments. I remember the drafting of Lindsey Hunter and Allan Houston back to back and how upset I was that Allan left the way he did. I remember William Bedford, Lance Blanks, and Scott Hastings and yes, even Terry Mills and Grant Long. I remember Grant Hill, I still have all his rookie cards, and even the sign and trade and thinking “nice move Joe, who the hell is Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins? Maybe you should have just been a player and that was it!” I remember Don Chaney, Doug Collins, Alvin Gentry, George Irvine and although I wish I could forget it I even remember those ugly (to be polite) teal uniforms that you wore for awhile. That was the best move that Joe D ever made if you ask me, getting rid of those and bringing back the red, white and blue. Oh, and did I forget to mention the greatness that was Otis Thorpe and Sean Elliott, who can forget that?

The point of all that is not to run down memory lane with all of you, okay maybe it is a little, but rather to point out that these last few years have been so fun to watch I just want to say thanks in some way and that if tonight is the end of this run with you five it is okay, most of us are not going anywhere. I am not, as Sheed so kindly put it, one of the “bandwagon ass-cats” I am a Piston fan and will be until the day I no longer breathe or you no longer exist, which ever comes first.

There is this silly little part of me that still thinks that you can do this, you can come back and force a game #7 on the Palace floor, but then there is the realist in me that just says it is impossible. Too much basketball over the past four years, maybe it has caught up to you at the worst imaginable time, or maybe it is simply that your time has passed. Whatever it is it truly has been a memorable ride and one that I am sure I will experience again because I believe that at some point in time Tayshaun will win another ring with the Pistons before it is all said and done. If somehow you guys play loose tonight, if somehow you guys win big and look like the Pistons that won 64 games this season and went to back to back Finals then maybe all hope is not lost but something tells me that there is just nothing left in the tank at this point.

So there you have it, thanks guys, thanks for letting us all come along for the ride and just for so much damn fun, even though there has been a lot of nail biting and heart burn along the way it was still well worth it. Maybe you guys should just reread the first paragraph of this letter, maybe you guys should just pretend you are kids again, playing your dad, your uncle, whomever it was that was the first person you really just had to beat to prove something to yourself at an early age. Go back to having fun, go back to playing loose, stop playing scared and just let it out and leave it on the court. Be that boy again chasing a dream or you may all be chasing golf balls sooner than any of us expected.

Thanks for the ride now just go out and play – the sports dude.

Blogger Big Al said...

Dude, you forgot to mention Fennis Dembo. Unforgivable... ;-)  


Blogger Ian C. said...

Oh man, you have undone years of therapy by mentioning Vaught, Laettner, Elliott, Dele, and the rest of the chumps we were subjected to before Joe D retired and took over as GM.  


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