Isiah Thomas reveals Detroit Pistons fired Chuck Daly in 1986

According to Isiah Thomas, Chuck Daly almost did not have the chance to lead the Detroit Pistons to back-to-back NBA Championships.

Detroit Pistons legend Isiah Thomas recently appeared on the “Bad Boys & Beyond” podcast and shared a little-known story about the firing and rehiring of their iconic coach, Chuck Daly. In fact, according to Thomas, the Pistons actually fired Daly for a short amount of time in 1986.

Isiah Thomas Michael Jordan Chuck Daly

Isiah Thomas reveals Detroit Pistons fired Chuck Daly in 1986

During that podcast, Thomas said that after the Pistons experienced a rough patch during the 1985-86 season, Daly was unexpectedly dismissed by firmer Pistons GM, Jack McCloskey.

“I’ll tell you a story here that not many people know, that hasn’t been told. You know, Chuck Daly was fired from the Detroit Pistons,” Thomas said. “And I’ll never forget, Jack McCloskey (former Pistons general manager) fired him. This was early in the season. We had lost 15 out of 19. I’m not sure what year it was. It could’ve been ‘86.”

Davidson's Decision

Thomas's efforts to support Daly did not go unnoticed. After their meet-up, Thomas informed Bill Davidson about their discussion and expressed his belief in Daly's coaching prowess. Davidson carefully considered Thomas's perspective and, ultimately, made a crucial decision to rehire Daly as the Pistons' head coach. This move proved to be pivotal for the team's success in the years to come.

“I’ll never forget. I drove to Mr. D’s (former Pistons owner Bill Davidson) house. And I said, ‘We’re making a huge mistake,’ and he goes, ‘What do you mean?’ and I go, ‘This isn’t the coach’s fault.’ I said, ‘We don’t have the type of talent to compete the way everybody thinks we should, and if we lose this coach, I don’t think we’ll ever win here.”

Bottom Line: Isiah saved the day

Isiah's unwavering belief in Chuck Daly's coaching abilities played a pivotal role in the Pistons' journey to success. When the team faced a challenging period, Thomas stepped up as a leader and convinced the management to rehire Daly. The decision led to the Pistons' triumphant championship runs in 1989 and 1990, solidifying Daly's legacy as one of the greatest coaches in NBA history. The behind-the-scenes account shared by Isiah Thomas on the “Bad Boys & Beyond” podcast offers a glimpse into the bond between a legendary player and his esteemed coach, highlighting the power of conviction and belief in the face of adversity.


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