Bill Laimbeer

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Bill Laimbeer
Bill Laimbeer 1975 Palos Verdes HS.jpg
Laimbeer shooting a free throw for the Palos Verdes High School varsity basketball team in 1974-75.
No. 41, 40
Center
Personal information
Born (1957-05-19) May 19, 1957 (age 57)
Boston, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)
Listed weight 245 lb (111 kg)
Career information
High school Palos Verdes
(Palos Verdes, California)
College Notre Dame (1975–1979)
NBA draft 1979 / Round: 3 / Pick: 65th overall
Selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers
Pro career 1979–1993
Career history
As player:
1979–1980 Basket Brescia (Italy)
19801982 Cleveland Cavaliers
1982–1993 Detroit Pistons
As coach:
20022008 Detroit Shock (WNBA)
2013–current New York Liberty (WNBA)
Career highlights and awards

As player:

As coach:

Career statistics
Points 13,790 (12.9 ppg)
Rebounds 10,400 (9.7 rpg)
Blocks 965 (0.9 bpg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

William "Bill" Laimbeer, Jr. (born May 19, 1957) is an American retired National Basketball Association player who spent most of his career with the Detroit Pistons. Teaming with hall of fame backcourt guards Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars, Laimbeer won back to back NBA Championships in both 1989 and 1990. He is the current head coach and general manager of the WNBA's New York Liberty.[1] Playing at center, the 6'11" Laimbeer was a four-time All-Star and integral part of the Pistons teams that won two championships. Initially raised in the Chicago, Illinois suburb of Clarendon Hills, Laimbeer attended Palos Verdes High School in Southern California and then the University of Notre Dame.

After his playing career, Laimbeer served as the head coach of the Detroit Shock in the WNBA from 2002 to 2009, and coached the team to three league championships. In 2012, Laimbeer became the general manager and head coach of the WNBA's New York Liberty.

Early life[edit]

Laimbeer was born to a successful businessman and grew up in the wealthy outskirts of Chicago.[2]

Playing career[edit]

Laimbeer was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1979. He played professionally in Italy for a year before returning to play for the Cavaliers in 1980. On February 16, 1982, he was traded to the Detroit Pistons, where he would remain for the rest of his career. During his playing career, Laimbeer was one of the most notorious players in the NBA. While highly popular among Piston fans, Laimbeer was despised by opposing players and fans for committing hard fouls and flopping. In the public eye, Laimbeer's reputation for physical play tended to overshadow his skills. His former teammate Dennis Rodman noted this in his book Bad As I Wanna Be, saying, "He (Laimbeer) was more than a thug, but that's what he'll be remembered for." Laimbeer was one of the top outside-shooting centers of his era, draining over 200 three pointers for his career, and excelled at running the pick and pop with guards Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars. Then-head coach Chuck Daly utilized Laimbeer's skills by having him fade to the perimeter rather than roll to the basket. Laimbeer was selected to the NBA All-Star Game on four occasions (1983, 1984, 1985 and 1987) and finished among the league leaders in rebounding and free throw percentage several times, winning the rebound title in the 1985-86 season. Laimbeer started on the Pistons' 1989 and 1990 NBA championship teams.

Bill Laimbeer and his Detroit teammates are the only players to have a playoff winning record against NBA legends Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan.

Altogether, Laimbeer spent 14 seasons in the NBA, 12 of them with Detroit. Laimbeer became the 19th player in league history to amass more than 10,000 points and 10,000 rebounds. Laimbeer was most effective off the defensive glass: from 1982 to 1990 no player in the league totaled more defensive rebounds. His streak of 685 consecutive games played (which ended due to suspension) is the fifth longest in league history. Laimbeer retired early in the 1993-94 season at age 36, and his jersey number (40) was eventually retired by the Pistons. He remains the franchise's all-time leader in career rebounds.

Laimbeer's reputation as one of the Pistons' "Bad Boys" was such that in 1991 he even came to endorse a video game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System called Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball, a futuristic basketball game in which physical play is encouraged.

Post-NBA life[edit]

Bill Laimbeer (right) with Detroit Shock assistant coaches Rick Mahorn and Cheryl Reeve

In 1994, Laimbeer and his father William Sr. co-founded Laimbeer Packaging Corp., a company located in Melvindale, Michigan, a Detroit suburb, producing corrugated cardboard boxes. The company struggled through the late 1990s and closed in early 2002.

His father was a ranking executive with the Owens-Illinois corporation, and Laimbeer used to say (only partly tongue-in-cheek) about himself that during his career he was the only NBA player who earned less money than his father.

After retiring from the game, Laimbeer maintained his ties to the Pistons as a broadcast commentator.

In the middle of the 2002 WNBA season, Laimbeer took over the head coaching position for the Detroit Shock. A year later, he led the franchise to its first WNBA championship and was named Coach of the Year that year. It marked the first time in WNBA history that a team other than Los Angeles or Houston won the title. On September 9, 2006 Laimbeer led the Shock to their second WNBA championship against the Sacramento Monarchs in five games. Two years later, on October 5, 2008, Laimbeer led the team to its third league championship in six years by defeating San Antonio.

Laimbeer has talked about the possibility of one day coaching in the NBA. The New York Knicks' former team president, former Piston teammate Isiah Thomas, once considered Laimbeer as a possibility.[3] The Pistons, presided by former teammate Joe Dumars, had considered the possibility of Laimbeer replacing departing coach Larry Brown, before ultimately hiring former Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders. Laimbeer is a former color commentator for the Pistons and was a studio analyst for ESPN in 2003.

Bill Laimbeer won the Shooting Stars competition at the 2007 NBA All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas along with Chauncey Billups of the Detroit Pistons and Swin Cash of the Detroit Shock. In February 2009 he won the competition with Arron Afflalo and Katie Smith.

On June 15, 2009, he resigned as head coach of the Detroit Shock, due to family reasons and the desire to become an NBA head coach.[4] Though he was unable to secure an NBA head coaching position, that same year Laimbeer was offered, and accepted, an assistant coach position with the Minnesota Timberwolves.[5]

In 2012, Laimbeer returned to the WNBA to become the head coach and general manager of the New York Liberty, replacing John Whisenant.[6] He quickly returned to his pugnacious ways, drawing a fine for saying Minnesota Lynx player Maya Moore "should get hurt" for playing late into a game in which the Lynx easily defeated the Liberty.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Greg Williams
Detroit Shock Head Coach
2002–2009
Succeeded by
Rick Mahorn
Preceded by
John Whisenant
New York Liberty Head Coach
2013–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent