Detroit Pistons: 15 players who defined the Bad Boys era

Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images /
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John Salley, Dennis Rodman, Detroit Pistons
Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images /

64. . Power forward. 1986-92. John Salley. 8. player

In the 1990s, Dennis Rodman would become known for his unique flair and personality, pushing the bounds of what the public would accept from a star player. But in the late 80s on the Bad Boys, it was forward John Salley who brought the flair to the Pistons’ locker room.

Drafted in the impactful 1986 NBA Draft, Salley was instantly comfortable in the Detroit locker room. He was an outspoken and charismatic figure for the entire dominant run of the Bad Boys, the glue that sealed together the family dynamic that core had.

Salley was never a consistent starter, but he was always a part of the rotation. He was a strong defender on the court, and always a strong defender off the court. He had no problems accusing the refs, the league or opponents of anti-Detroit bias.

While nothing about the end of the Bad Boys era was joyful, the breakup with Salley was particularly bitter. After six seasons to start his career with the Pistons he was traded to the Miami Heat, the first of four stops at the end of his career.