Former Detroit Pistons center Bill Laimbeer fouled Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan hard several times back in the day. However, only one of his fouls resulted in a fight between coaches breaking out.
In the second game of the 1985-86 season, the Bulls hosted the Pistons at the Chicago Stadium. Jordan drove to the basket and was so dangerously fouled and taken out of the air by Laimbeer that his head coach tried to fight Pistons coach Chuck Daly.
Michael Jordan was taken out of the air by Bill Laimbeer
Jordan hated the Pistons and vice versa. Whenever Chicago and Detroit played each other, the two teams always had fierce battles.
On October 26, 1985, the Bulls defeated the Pistons at the Chicago Stadium by a final score of 121-118. Jordan put up 33 points, seven rebounds, and six assists to lead the way. It was a stellar performance, especially when you consider he was taken out of the air by Laimbeer and refused to stop attacking the basket.
After Laimbeer fouled Jordan and knocked him to the ground, MJ got up quickly and started to go after the Pistons center before Bulls forward Gene Banks stopped him. While all of that was going on, Chicago coach Stan Albeck — visibly angry about the dirty foul by Laimbeer — charged after Daly, and all hell broke loose.
Stan Albeck tried to fight Chuck Daly
Albeck was so irritated by Laimbeer’s foul on Jordan that he charged at Daly and tried to fight him. The Bulls coach was sticking up for his superstar and clearly had had enough of the Pistons’ antics.
Officials Paul Mihalak and Mike Mathis ejected both Albeck and Daly. The Chicago Stadium crowd gave their coach a standing ovation as he was escorted out. Meanwhile, Daly was predictably booed.
Jordan learned the hard way that the Pistons weren’t going to stop trying to hurt him every time he drove to the basket. Detroit invented the “Jordan Rules” as a way to stop the Bulls star from scoring, with one of the rules being to knock His Airness to the ground if he somehow got through traffic and made it near the basket.
The Pistons defeated the Bulls in the 1988, 1989, and 1990 playoffs. However, Jordan and Co. finally got their revenge in 1991.
1991 was a great year for Michael Jordan
1991 was a banner year for Jordan. Not only did he win his second regular-season MVP, but he also swept the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals and defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals to capture his first championship. The scoring machine took out Isiah Thomas and Magic Johnson en route to winning his first title and first Finals MVP.
Before the Bulls won Game 4 against the Pistons in the ’91 conference finals, Laimbeer told his teammates they weren’t going to shake hands with the Chicago players. Detroit walked off the court prior to the final buzzer sounding, and the team was destroyed by the national media for being sore losers.
Jordan and Laimbeer were never friends during their playing days and will likely never be pals in retirement. After all, the latter physically beat up the former back in the day and organized the Pistons’ walk-out.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.