Bill Davidson Says "Isiah couldn’t change"

by | Sep 5, 2008 | 5 comments

Mitch Album did a Q&A with Pistons Owner Bill Davidson before his Hall of Fame Induction. The whole piece is quite interesting, but Albom asked the question that most fans want to know the real answer to.

“Q: OK. Who’s the best player?

A: I’d say the best player we ever drafted was Isiah Thomas.

Q: Can you say anything – and I recognize it’s been a complex relationship over the years — about the falling out you two had at the end of his playing career?

A: Well, I was very, very close to Isiah, and there were times he was almost like a son. But, because of his background, um …I told him he had to change — you know, coming from where he came from. I said, “You’ve got it made now. Don’t keep doing those things that you’ve been doing.” I won’t tell you what they are. But he couldn’t change. “

Q: And that’s why he didn’t have a future with the Pistons?

A: Right.

Q: Had he been able to change, would you have envisioned him having a lifelong career in the front office?

A: Yeah, certainly.

Q: Had you discussed that at one point with him?

A: I wouldn’t go that far.

Q: But in your mind you had considered that a possibility?

A: If you know the relationship was like a son — I was trying to counsel him — the subject of his future relationship and what his job would be never came up. Because he had to change first.

Q: To use your metaphor — he didn’t take his father’s counsel?

A: No.

Q: What’s your relationship with him at this point?

A: We’re the best of friends.

Q: How did it heal?

A: One day I decided — this was about five years ago — that there’s only one guy that I’m really not friendly with. So I called Isiah up, and I said Isiah (chuckling) –before I go to my grave–you know, whenever I do–I want you and I to be friends.

Q: Interesting.

A: So we hug each other now — and you know we just had the reunion. We’re the best of friends today.

Via The Detroit Free Press

There is plenty more about Joe D, Larry Brown, the fact he wanted to buy the Lions before he purchased the Pistons and that some NBA Refs aren’t on the up and up.

Q: What do you think of the whole Tim Donaghy scandal?

A: That’s the tip of the iceberg with referees.

Frank and candid while still remaining classy. Mr. Davidson is in a class by himself.

Don’t forget the HOF Ceremonies will be televised Today (Friday) at 7:30 PM on NBATV and ESPN Classic.


  1. palaceprince

    I was always wondering why Isiah didn’t stick with the Pistons and now I know why.

    There is someone in my class who says he is a nuts Pistons fan yet he likes the celtics more than the pistons. He can only name the starting five and is that what “nuts” fans are cause I know a couple people like that or is that only where I live (Hawaii) where there are a lot of bandwagoners?

  2. Justin

    I happened to catch Bernie’s interview with Mr. D last night after all the Kwame stuff and the Republican convention stuff. I have nothing but the utmost respect for him. And it is really sad to hear him talk about his own demise. I know he isn’t a spring chicken but when he talks about him setting up the Pistons so that it stays with the family after his passing was still pretty sad to hear. I hope that those who he is leaving the Pistons to have half the smarts and passion that Mr. D possesses.

  3. Justin

    Well I should have said “at least half the smarts and passion”….congrats to Mr. D. The honor is well deserved.

  4. KneeJerkNBA

    “Don’t keep doing those things that you’ve been doing. I won’t say what they are.”

    Sounds shady.

    The only objectionable things I remember Isiah doing were saying Bird was overrated ’cause he was white, kissing Magic, and leaving the court without shaking MJ’s hand.

  5. John Galt

    The Pistons under Mr. D’s ownership have always been pretty good about keeping their dirty laundry out of the press.

    Since Mr. D made reference to Zeke’s up bringing I would guess that maybe it has something to do with similar words and actions that were brought up in the Brown lawsuit when Zeke was with the Knicks.


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