On Chuck Daly’s passing…

Gatinho —  May 9, 2009

The game we watch today has Chuck Daly’s fingerprints all over it. From the ticky-tack nature of assessing what level of physicality is allowed to the way Kobe is guarded. It was Daly’s Bad Boys who, along with the Knicks and Pat Riley, turned the game “ugly” in the late 80’s and early 90’s by combating the skill and finesse of Magic’s Lakers and Jordan’s Bulls with an intimidating defensive style. It was Daly’s Pistons that we’re actually successful for a time in slowing Jordan down in the playoffs by sending varied looks at him.

Daly’s Pistons faced up against the Lakers in the epic 7 game ’88 Finals. If not for Isaiah Thomas’ severely sprained ankle, which he played through in games 6 and 7, there may never have been a back-to-back. The Pistons would get their win over the Lakers the following year when bum hamstrings sidelined both Magic and Byron Scott and their own back-to-back the following year, placing them firmly in the upper echelon of the great 80’s teams.

Daly on guarding Jordan…

“If Michael was at the point, we forced him left and doubled him. If he was on the left wing, we went immediately to a double team from the top. If he was on the right wing, we went to a slow double team. He could hurt you equally from either wing — hell, he could hurt you from the hot-dog stand — but we just wanted to vary the look. And if he was on the box, we doubled with a big guy.

“The other rule was, any time he went by you, you had to nail him. If he was coming off a screen, nail him. We didn’t want to be dirty — I know some people thought we were — but we had to make contact and be very physical.”

…sound familiar?

“The so-called Jordan Rules might’ve been the only thing I contributed to basketball…Everything else I stole.”

SI NBA Historian Jack McCallum on Daly’s defense:

There were three tenets to the Detroit defense: Never give Jordan an easy shot; try to confuse him with varied defensive looks; and be very physical with him. The principles were perfect for the Pistons, who were smart and aggressive (some would say they crossed the line into “dirty”) defenders.

605 wins-420 losses
.609 winning %
HOF 1994
Coach of the 1992 Gold Medal winning “Dream Team”

Charles Jerome Daly

Elements of this story are from Roland Lazenby’s The Show
-Scott Thompson



to On Chuck Daly’s passing…

  1. Warren Wee Lim May 9, 2009 at 10:59 am

    As my father used to tell me about them bad boys… there was a point in time when they just could not lose. (Even with Isiah running in literally 1 leg.)

    That was exactly what was shown in the original Dream Team too. Of course, hugely because Jordan, Magic, Bird, Ewing, Robinson, Stockton, Malone, Pippen, Zeke, among others were the members. Both real legacies of Chuck Daly.

    Thank you Chuck.


  2. Warren Wee Lim May 9, 2009 at 11:04 am

    As for the game (3), I think I was right in my blind’s faith again. And while the new-er members of the all-new FBG haven’t noticed, and tho Emma isn’t around much (as I am not), I think my gut feel + theories were right. Kobe scored 33 inspite of overall ugly shooting… but Farmar, ShanWow, even Drew for a tiny bit, showed up.

    Game 4? I think Hou is still given a +3 spread at home. And I shall once again prove faithful in betting against them. Anyone wanna wish I be victorious as well?

    PS. I sure do hope Yao is back full strength and Ron will not be suspended. By all means, THAT WASNT A FLAGRANT. Cmon Javie…


  3. The battles were epic, be they with the C’s, the Bull, or out Lakers. I actually came of basketball age in the later portion of the Showtime Era with just dim recollection of the early 80’s. So, Chuck Daly, to me, was the coach of my first bitter basketball rival. I had nothing but grudging respect for him and his teams (Isaiah limping all over the place and making shot after shot in 88 was unbelievable and compares, in my opinion, with Jordan’s flu game… aside from the result). Plus, I think we have Chuck Daly to thank for much that was brilliant in Dennis Rodman’s game.

    So, thank G-d for Chuck Daly. Rest in peace.


  4. The fact that I hated Daly so much as a kid is a testament to his brilliance as a coach. In hindsight, it’s fair to say he was one of the best tacticians and motivators the game has ever seen. So lasting was his imprint on the Pistons organization, that the 2004 championship team had all of the hallmarks of their late 80s/early 90’s predecessors. Rasheed, Chauncey, Ben and the rest had all watched Daly’s Pistons in their youth, and they knew what was expected of them once they donned that uniform. Few coaches could claim such a legacy.


  5. j. d. hastings May 9, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Its been a hard year. His work will carry on, though.


  6. I remember vividly the hard fought wars between Daly’s Bad Boys and Riley’s Showtime Lakers. Those were epic battles where each possession could cost you the game or worse yet, the series. I fondly recall Dennis Rodman pulling up for an ill-advised jumper when Detroit had control of the game and the lead, missed, then the Lakers took advantage of the opportunity and ultimately won the game. Daly simply shook his head and buried his face in his hands.

    He was a class act and always presented himself with dignity even when 17,505 were raining down on him and his team with a Boston-esque hatred. He was the identity of the Dream Team and will go down as one of the greatest coaches ever.

    From this purple and gold heart, you will be sorely missed.


  7. The Dude Abides May 9, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    While I respect the Pistons of the late ’80s and early ’90s, they were definitely the dirtiest team ever to lace up the sneakers. Jordan hated them so much that he told USA Basketball that if one player from that team made the ’92 Olympic Dream Team, he wouldn’t play. So, nobody from the Pistons made the Dream Team. Of course, the Pistons made it easy for USA Basketball to make that decision, as they exited the floor early in Game 4 of the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals before the game was over in a total classless move. I doubt Daly had anything to do with that. He was a great coach and will be missed.


  8. Yahoo has this in an article:

    “Daly humbled the NBA superstars by coaching a group of college players to victory in a controlled scrimmage weeks before the Olympics.”

    Is it true that Daly coached college kids to victory over the Dream Teamers? Does anyone have an article with word on this? I’m surprised something that amazing isn’t more well known. I get that it was probably a relaxed scrimmage, but Michael Jordan hated to lose at marbles. That’s an amazing accomplishment, if I read that article correctly.


  9. Snoopy2006,

    No that’s not true. Roy Williams and George Raveling coached the college kids. Allan Houston was on fire that day. It was in Halberstam’s MJ book, Playing for Keeps.

    Of course, then they started celebrating in front of MJ. Whoops. They had a scrimmage the next game, and the Dream Team won by 56.


  10. I hated the Bad Boys, but never hated the coach. Rest in peace, Chuck Daly. You were a class act.


  11. Avinash, who else was on that team of college players?


  12. Chuck Daly, you will be missed. RIP.

    I’ll never forget our epic battles with Daly’s Pistons teams. He always struck me as the type of coach that knew how to push the right buttons to get guys to perform. He had some real personalities on those teams – Zeke, Salley, Aguire, Microwave, Buddah Edwards, Rodman, Mahorn, Laimbeer – I mean, come on…how are you going to get all those guys on the same page and doing exactly what you want? But Daly did it. And even though those teams were our bitter rivals, I never had a real hate of that team (except for Laimbeer). Maybe that was because I didn’t have enough hate in my heart for Detroit and Boston, or maybe it was the Magic/Zeke dynamic that unfolded in those pre-game “greetings”. Whatever it was, I always had a deep appreciation and strong positive feeling for Daly and his work with those Pistons teams. Again, he will be missed. My thoughts go out to his family and all his former players that must be going through it today.


  13. ABC just reported that Yao is out for the playoffs.


  14. This is unrelated, but the report on Yao is that he’s out for the rest of the playoffs due to a hairline fracture on one of his feet.

    That’s very sad.


  15. Kaifa,

    C-Webb, Penny, Jamal Mashburn, Rodney Rogers. Pretty talented team, although they were a bit immature.


  16. I know this is a very off topic with everything going on but I wanted to know if anyone here does the espn streak for cash game? and if anyone would be interested in starting a group for this blog where we can all compete against each other.


  17. Confirmed – Yao is out: http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-rockets10-2009may10,0,1554351.story

    THIS SUCKS. I want the Lakers to win, but against a healthy Lakers squad.

    Poor Yao. There’s a rumor floating around that he suffers from acromegaly, hence his disproportionate head size, size, and deep voice. If this is the case, then the string of injuries we have seen in his career will only get worse. Too bad. He’s an excellent ball player and I would have enjoyed seeing him in more games this season.


  18. Bad news on Yao. Class guy, and world class competitor. It was nice to see him play and will his team on. Last time I went to a home game against Houston he was out with a broken toe, hopefully he can continue to be a force.


  19. Great coach and very fashionable and stylish. John Salley gave him the moniker of “Daddy Rich” because of his impeccable wardrobe. I do think he should have demanded that Zeke be on the Dream Team or refused to coach it.

    A lot of people forgot that after leaving the Pistons Daly coached a young Nets team with Derrick Coleman, Drazen Petrovic, Kenny Anderson, Chris Morris, etc. That team played a great first round playoff series losing 3-2 against the Bulls in 93. They were definitely an up and coming team, but Drazen died in that tragic accident that summer.

    RIP Daddy Rich


  20. The Dude Abides May 10, 2009 at 12:04 am

    Yao out. That really really sucks. Totally bummed…he’s such a good guy.


  21. That Nike commercial is hilarious!


  22. 07- @dudeabides How is it that he would allow the coach of the Pistons, the one engineering it all, to be the coach of the Dream Team? It seems like his anger was misplaced.


  23. I want Yao to be in, but oh well. I’ll be at game 4 today in Houston and will be rooting hard for us to go up 3-1 and essentially end the series. Pau, Lamar and Drew should step up big.


  24. Pinky–Daly had little to do with the Bad Boys mentality. They took their lead from Isiah, who really envied the attention Jordan received from the media and was bitter at being spurned by his hometown of Chicago. MJ really enjoyed being coached by Chuck in Barcelona and had healthy respect for him off the court.


  25. As the Loyal opposition for this Series.I’d like to sya thank-you to all the Laker fans who have exhibited class and compassion regarding Yao and the Rockets.

    Regardless of how Game 4 turns out,the Rockets didn’t have enough scoring even before Yao was injured to win the Series.

    Unless you run into Orlando,I hope the Lakers beat everyone else you should encounter.