Joe Dumars was the first overall pick in the 1984 NBA draft and played for the Detroit Pistons until 2000. He is best known for his time with the Pistons, where he teamed up with Isiah Thomas to form one of the most iconic backcourts in NBA history.
Joe Dumars had an Isiah Thomas poster on the wall before joining Zeke in one of the NBA’s iconic backcourts.
In the late 1980s NBA, the Bad Boys acted as a link between the supremacy of the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers and the emergence of the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls. The Detroit Pistons were headed by point guard Isiah Thomas. He was a member of one of the best backcourt duos in NBA history. Joe Dumars arrived in Detroit with much less hoopla than Thomas, but he was just as important to the Pistons’ success.
They couldn’t have been more different. Thomas was a Chicago icon who went on to Indiana University where he was an All-American and national champion. Dumars was born in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and attended McNeese State University.
Joe Dumars established himself as a celebrity in his own right.
Joe Dumars became a Detroit Pistons icon, but he had a poster of future teammate Isiah Thomas on his dorm-room wall as a college student. | Getty Images/Allsport
Joe Dumars, the Pistons’ 18th overall selection in the 1985 NBA Draft, didn’t dethrone veteran John Long as the starting shooting guard until almost halfway through the season. He averaged 10.4 points and 6.3 assists in 30.6 minutes per game in his last 44 games as a starter.
While the Pistons were defeated by the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs, Dumars performed well, shooting 61 percent from the field and averaging 15.0 points and 6.3 assists per game. Isiah Thomas led the series with 26.5 points and 12.0 assists.
In the 1989 NBA Finals, he became a household name for the first time. In a four-game sweep, Dumars destroyed the Lakers’ struggling backcourt, averaging 27.3 points and 6.0 assists per game. Dumars won NBA Finals MVP honors while leading the club to its first title. Thomas had to wait until 1990 for a Finals MVP to be awarded to him.
Isiah Thomas had a bit of a star-struck effect on Dumars.
Joe Dumars was one of the Bad Boys’ stars during their short, tumultuous reign. He stated that he never anticipated to play alongside Isiah Thomas during the Bad Boys documentary, which aired in 2014 as part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series.
To be sure, he was a fan of Thomas’ game, according to Mlive:
“I had a picture of Isiah Thomas in my dorm room when I was a freshman in college, never thinking in a million years that I would play alongside him.”
The Pistons’ starting backcourt for nine seasons was Dumars and Thomas. After rupturing his Achilles’ tendon late in the 1993–94 season, Thomas retired. From 1986 through 1992, they had seven straight playoff appearances, two titles, three visits to the NBA Finals, and a five-year run in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Dumars was a six-time All-Star who spent his entire career with the Detroit Red Wings, retiring following the 1998–99 season. With 990 3-pointers made, he is the first Piston to play in more than 1,000 games in his career.
Dumars was a great two-way player who was named to five All-Defensive teams and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006. However, Dumars and the franchise have a strained relationship these days.
Joe Dumars and the Pistons have a lengthy history together.
Joe Dumars moved from the court to the Pistons’ front office in June 2000, becoming the team’s general manager. In 2004, he coached the franchise’s third championship team, which went on to reach six consecutive conference finals from 2003 through 2008.
When the club had a rough patch in 2014, Dumars was fired as president. As a result, the club and one of its symbols have been estranged for a long time.
The Pistons, on the other hand, are no strangers to this. After a falling out with the late Bill Davidson, who owned the team from 1974 until his death in 2009, Isiah Thomas was on the outs with the franchise for years.
According to Mlive, Thomas returned to the franchise in 2017 to assist in the closure of the Palace of Auburn Hills before returning to Detroit. The warming of ties between Thomas and the Pistons may be traced back to the dismissal of Dumars in 2014. Tom Gores, the club’s current governor, sought to make amends with Thomas.
Thomas was interested in a front-office job, similar to those he had with the Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks, as well as a stake in the team. He ended up with neither, but he’s still on good terms with the club.
The Pistons should also do all they can to fix the situation with Joe Dumars. He went from owning an Isiah Thomas poster to sharing one with him while guiding the franchise to new heights.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
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