The Time for Combat Basketball Has Come: An Open Letter to Joe Dumars

“Dear Joe,

There’s no denying you got off to a great start as the Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations.  Your swift ascent from ex-athlete to sports exec god was, well, messianic.  No, you never turned water into wine, but you did trade a perpetually injured Grant Hill for the unheralded duo of Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins (who you eventually traded for Rasheed Wallace). Pretty close.  You assembled a team of scrappers (dare I say, “in your image”) and led them to the promised land.  For this, I will always be grateful.

But in recent years, you’ve fallen on hard times and yesterday you fired head coach Michael Curry.  I’ll let others debate the merits of that decision.  The reason I am writing you now is to tell you that your next decision should not be up for debate.

You must hire Bill Laimbeer.

I know what you’re thinking.  “Hire Laimbeer?  My whining, flopping ex-teammate whose only coaching experience is with a women’s team?!”  

Yes.  And not just because he won two championships as your teammate and three as coach of that women’s team.  Not because he elicits simultaneously hilarious and fearsome nicknames like “Man of War,” “Prince of Darkness,” and “The Shocker.”  Not even because he’s the only guy on earth with the guts to follow up the phrase “Michael Jordan may be a very good, outstanding basketball player” with the word “but” (45 seconds into the video, priceless).  

You must hire Bill Laimbeer because he was the inspiration and namesake for the 1991 Super Nintendo game, Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball.  

What’s that Joe?  You were too busy playing actual basketball in 1991 to mess around with video games?  Let me fill you in.  Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball is a game featuring admittedly horrible graphics and astoundingly simple usability.  The Game presupposes it is the year 2030 and Bill Laimbeer has become the NBA’s commissioner.  This, as you can imagine, presents several fascinating possibilities:

“Seeing as he’s in charge, he fires all the refs and throws the rulebook out the window [sic] basketball the way he likes it. Now the players wear armor as weapons and mines are thrown from the stands, adding a whole new element to the game of hoops.” 

What I’m trying to say, Joe, is that by hiring Laimbeer, you will singlehandedly begin the NBA’s gradual evolution from a snooze-inducing-one-man-dribbles-and-shoots league into its future existence as a league in which armored warriors fly around and punch each other while fans throw fireballs at them.  And I can’t think of anything more entertaining than that.

Ignore Michael Rosenberg when he says Laimbeer should never coach in the NBA because he walked away from his job with the Detroit Shock.  C’mon Rosenberg! Do you really expect a guy who imagined a league where fans can throw mines at players to spend the rest of his career (forgive me ladies) in WNBA purgatory where fans barely even show up?  The man’s a visionary.  While other kids at his high school were flipping burgers for spare change, Laimbeer was cashing residual checks from his performance as a giant lizard-thing in the TV show, Land of the Lost.  I’m not kidding.

The power is in your hands, Joe.  The power to change the NBA forever.  Sure, you can hand over the keys to Avery Johnson and maybe he’ll be respectable.  But will he help bring about the eventuality of “space basketball?”  Think about it Joe.  You’ll be immortal.

Or at least, you’ll make the 2009-10 season entertaining.  


Quinn Strassel”


HT: This commenter on MGoBlog


12 Responses to “The Time for Combat Basketball Has Come: An Open Letter to Joe Dumars”

  1. […] just minutes ago I was in limbo about who I would rather see at the helm. That is, until I read this post. It is now clear to me. Joe, you must hire Bill Laimbeer. The time for Combat Basketball has come. […]

  2. Sean Eldon Says:

    Brilliant. And nobody has even mentioned the biggest benefit of combat basketball…improved national security.

    Who would ever mess with a country that delighted in such a blood-sport? Not Osama. Maybe barbarian hordes…

  3. My initial thought when Curry was let go was Battling Bill. It is all too convenient that Bill resigned from the Shock only a few short weeks ago.

  4. Bob Fox Says:

    Fans throwing things from the stands + Palace of Auburn Hills = a need for a bad ass like Laimbeer to take care of business. Great work, Quinn!

  5. chappy81 Says:

    It sounds like they want Doug Collins as of now… Whoever they pick couldn’t be worse… Check out our blog

  6. Jennifer Grace Schwarz Says:

    Wow. Great blog, Quinn. You’re a huge dork, but your musings are amusing. Can’t wait to read more.

    Best of luck to you and the lady back in the mitten!

    -Jenn Grace

  7. LOVE IT! Some excellent points made. And if you add Ron Artest, Kobe, and Bruce Bowen to your lineup, you’d get a fighter, a f@#$er, and a crotch kicker to your battalion!

    Intrigued to hear you’re back in MI. Maggie and Brendan are there for the summer too! I miss Ann Arbor dearly and look forward to keeping up with your blog as a way to catch up.

    Keep it coming!


  8. […] Johnson has already interviewed and Bill Laimbeer may get a chance to soon (much to the delight of those hoping for a day when “armored warriors fly around and punch each other while fans throw fireballs at […]

  9. Merely want to say your article is stunning. The clarity in your post is simply impressive and i can assume you are an expert on this field. Well with your permission allow me to grab your rss feed to keep up to date with incoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work

  10. keep up the good work.. ur the best

  11. And1 is the best period. I hate that they split up.

  12. A Excellent blog post, I will be sure to bookmark this post in my Digg account. Have a great day.

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