You could make a serious, and rightful case for Rip Hamilton to kick start our week (and change), but I chose a different Piston. Bill Laimbeer not only wore the first face mask I can remember seeing in a basketball game, but Laimbeer’s face mask was, by far, the most sentimental. Why, you ask? Because the remorseless, kid version of me was openly glad Laimbeer had to endure the pain of an eye socket fracture that extended down into his cheek.
I grew up on the Bad Boy Pistons, and still strongly believe in the philosophies that got them back-to-back titles - play constant, hard nosed defense for 48 minutes, and get the ball to the hot hand on offense. I appreciate them now, but goddamn it took a long time. The Pistons effectively ended the Showtime Lakers, and that was a mighty tough pill to swallow as a youth, especially with all of my Northwest Ohio neighbors hopping on the bandwagon.
It’s with that background that I celebrated Bill Laimbeer’s face mask - not because Bill was a warrior who refused to stop playing Detroit Piston basketball, regardless of the potential long-term damage he could do to himself, but because Bill Laimbeer had a broken face.
And that was awesome. Like Desert Storm, it brought our country together.
ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel. Photo: Rich Arden/ESPN Images. [display_podcast] Click here to subscribe to the podcast with your feed reader or podcast app: j.mp/dishinpodcast. Available on iTunes, Google Play Music Podcasts, Player FM, Acast (iOS, Android) and Podcast Addict (Android). Every now and then it is nice to just get together with a friend and chat. As we are nearing the end of the NCAA…