Bill Laimbeer took a few shots at Michael Jordan last week, saying there’s “no question” he would take LeBron James over Jordan and that Jordan couldn’t have led this year’s Cavaliers team to the NBA Finals.
Horace Grant, who won three NBA championships with Jordan and four overall, could not disagree more.
“I don’t know what Bill Laimbeer is smoking, but I don’t want any,” Grant said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Michael Jordan could bring almost any team to the Finals. I mean, I guess there’s still some little jealousy and hatred there when they walked off the court without shaking our hands. But no, I don’t believe that whatsoever.”
Grant, of course, is referring to Detroit snubbing the Bulls after getting swept in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals. Instead of sticking around to shake hands and congratulate the Bulls, Laimbeer, Isiah Thomas and other members of the “Bad Boy” Pistons sulked their way into the locker room.
“When they beat us two or three times, we shook their hands,” Grant said. “‘Bring it back to the East’ was our words to them. It was one of the most classless things I have seen in sports to this very day. (It was) just like, ‘Okay, you guys beat us, I’m going to take my ball and go home and I’m not going to give you guys the respect.’ It was classless.”
Grant said the Pistons have never apologized for that – at least not to him.
“We never expected guys like that to apologize,” he said. “They’re the type of guys that you don’t want to be on the same court with because of the antics they presented.”
That kind of behavior could be expected from Laimbeer, Thomas and some of the other players of that team. But Joe Dumars?
“Joe Dumars, I think, was a class act,” Grant said. “From the way he played, it was physical but it wasn’t dirty. But he was part of that team. He couldn’t have just come over and shook our hands. It wouldn’t have been solidarity with the Pistons if he had done that. But I’m pretty sure he apologized to Michael behind closed doors.”
Grant, 49, said that it wasn’t always easy playing with Jordan because of how demanding he was.
“The first year was tough,” Grant said. “You kind of didn’t know what to expect. But once you learned that this guy brought it every practice and every game, and once you realized that your leader is doing this night in and night out, you can’t help but to want to do it.”
As for Laimbeer’s original claim – that he would takes James over Jordan – Grant doesn’t want to go down that road.
“It’s so unfair to compare these guys,” Grant said. “But you have two of the greatest basketball players who have ever played the game, who have led their teams to championships, who make their teammates so much better when they’re out on the floor. That’s such a tough comparison.”