In the ’80s and early ’90s, the Eastern Conference featured dominant teams that managed to stay on top for several seasons before being dethroned by the next in line.
The Celtics had the East on lockdown, before finally being unseated by the Detroit Pistons. The Bad Boys era led by Isiah Thomas yielded back-to-back NBA titles in 1989 and 1990, before Michael Jordan’s Bulls took control in the 1991 season.
Detroit didn’t exactly embrace the end of its era. After beating the Bulls in hard-fought playoff series in each of the previous two seasons, the Pistons were swept in the Conference Finals on their home floor, and didn’t bother sticking around for the ceremonial handshakes that traditionally come following the final buzzer.
Thomas regrets that decision all these years later, and says in an upcoming episode of NBA TV’s Open Court (seen in the video clip above) that if he had it to do over again, he and his teammates would have stayed on the court to pay their proper respect to Jordan and the Bulls.