The legacy of a man is measured and defined by many facets and dimensions. Stretch your career out on a scale and there would be hills and valleys maybe even mountaintops or massive trenches. Its the perception of others that tends to matter, so in the matter of Hall of Famer Joe Dumars….Yes, I predicated it as such, because being a Hall of Famer is the equivalent of receiving a terminal degree in another field, so I am addressing him in the appropriate manner.
Legacy like most definitions has evolved and has many stipulations depending on who you ask, especially when it comes to sports. Even though sports has a lower success rate than in real life a large percent of the population believe the opposite. Just look at some examples: could you be successful educating just 3 out of every 10 children you teach and be in consideration for the Teacher Hall of Fame as you would in baseball or be successful at building 6 out of every 10 cars up to safety standards and retire as a HOFer linesman as QBs would if they completed at that percentage rate. I know the examples seem extreme, but when you look at the raw facts; the public opinion of Joe D is a far cry from its own established expectation.
The Raw Facts
Joe Dumars professional basketball career has spanned 29 years with the Detroit Pistons, 15 as a player and 14 as an executive.
CHAMP–A Fighter or Warrior
While playing for the Pistons the team had a .500 record of better in 73% of the seasons Joe played with a winning percentage of .558. They also won the franchises first championships in 1989 and 1990. Dumars was the Finals MVP in 1989 and has had annual NBA Sportsmanship Award named in his honor. I won’t get into his individual scoring statistics, but since he is the Hall of Fame, lets just say they are above average. (Also a forgotten
As the President of the Pistons from 01-06 it seemed as if Joe D had the Midas touch.(2002-03 NBA Executive of the Year) Highlights of his Acquisitions:
Sign and trades: Ben Wallace
Free Agent Signings: Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyese,
Traded for: Corliss Williamson, Cliff Robinson, Rip Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace
Drafted: Tayshun Prince, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond
Coaches: Larry Brown
CHUMP–A Stupid/Gullible Person
Joe D found out the hard way like all Presidents…you can never be good enough. Having a winning season in half of your 14 seasons at the helm and a winning percentage of .524 including the single season highest winning percentage in 05-06 of .780…not to mention bringing an unexpected 3rd championship in 2004 with a bunch of castoffs. That however was 10 long years ago….that’s right ten and the “Going to Work” Pistons have been laid off just like their general. The entire decade hasn’t been TURRUBUL(in my Charles Barkley voice), but most of it has since ’08. Going to six straight Eastern Conference Finals spoiled the fans in Detroit and made the rest of the country begin to view the franchise as spoiled meat. A team with no clear super star since Isaiah Thomas has the gall to not just compete for championships, but win them and not just defeat anyone, but defeat the 2nd most storied franchise in NBA history (The Lakers). It was easy to hate the Pistons and even easier to make the fans turn on them as well. Joe definitely didn’t do them any favors with some horrid draft picks, trades, free agent signings and a coaching carousel that resembled the Michigan State Fair. Yes, he was handicapped for a year and a half in between owners, but his reaction was nothing short of desperation.
Being in a strange land causes one to make decisions based upon want more than need. It can also lead for a delusional mind state that makes you believe you’re a contender when you should be in rebuilding mode. The latter is one of the most classic faux pa’s in sports…..pulling the plug too late. No one wins in that situation and the Presidente is the scapegoat. Of course the players and coaches have to execute, but from the executive suites you have to have the foresight to see when changes need to occur two steps before they have to happen. Joe’s blindness has quickly transformed this franchise from royalty to rags and he has to own that, BUT…you have to accept the fact that within reason they wouldn’t have gotten to the promise land without his massive contribution to the Pistons organization.
The question you must ask is the organization definitively better after the Dumas experience. I don’t feel that even needs to be answered, but I’m interested to hear what you have to say…….