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Bill Laimbeer was a notorious ‘Bad Boy’; Where is he now?
Legendary Detroit Pistons "Bad Boy" Bill Laimbeer went on to become a two-time WNBA Coach of the Year. (Credit: Mary Holt/USA TODAY Sports)

Bill Laimbeer was a notorious ‘Bad Boy’; Where is he now?

DETROIT (BVM) — Legendary Detroit Pistons center Bill Laimbeer is not done making news. After more than four decades in professional basketball, what could be next? Here is a look.

Notorious NBA Career

The 65-year-old Notre Dame alum carved out quite a resume. The 6-foot-11 Laimbeer was a third-round NBA Draft selection by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1979.

Laimbeer spent his first two seasons with the Cavs then destiny called. More specifically, it was the Detroit Pistons. They would bring Billy to the Motor City and that changed the trajectory of his pro basketball career. On Feb. 16, 1982, he was traded by the Cavaliers to the Pistons. This in effect planted the seed which eventually sprouted the infamous “Bad Boy Pistons.”

The Palos Verdes High School product went on to have an illustrious 14-year NBA career and reached the league’s mountaintop twice (1989,1990). In addition, he made four NBA all-star appearances. Lambs also earned two NBA rebounding titles (1984,1986). What’s more, he was a bonafide iron man. Bill played the full 82 regular season game schedule on four occasions during his days in the league.

He terrorized the NBA with his wicked style of play. Those playing days mercifully ended in December 1993.

Famed WNBA coach

Almost a decade later, he joined the WNBA coaching ranks. In 2002, he became head coach of the WNBA’s Detroit Shock, and took them to the first of three WNBA titles.

He would spend a total of 17 years working the WNBA sidelines. His resume includes eight years with the Shock.

Lambs left early in the 2009 season after accepting an assistant job with the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves. That would be as close as he would get to an NBA head coaching job, He spent two seasons on Kurt Rambis’ staff in Minnesota before the Timberwolves cleaned house in 2011. Ironically, Rambis was one of his most heated rivals with the Lakers.

Then it was back to the WNBA, this time leading the New York Liberty.

Coach Laimbeer led the Liberty from 2013-2017. They were two-time Eastern Conference champs on his watch. In 2018, he took over as head of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces. They won the 2020 Western Conference title. He coached one more season then retired. Over 521 career games, he finished with a 306-215 coaching record.

What could have been?

He scored two WNBA Coach of the Year awards (2003, 2015) during that time. Even so, there is a feeling that maybe he missed his chance to coach in the NBA. Some speculate a less-than-stellar reputation could’ve been a major obstacle to greater coaching opportunities.

Through the years, he interviewed for three head coaching jobs (Detroit, Philadelphia and Minnesota). Yet those opportunities would yield nothing in return.

Earlier this year, Laimbeer made it clear: he wouldn’t ever coach again. He added that his energy had been sapped. But he would leave the door open to return in some capacity. He was excited to get some time away. Particularly, to spend the summer at his Michigan farm. In any event, he wouldn’t venture to guess what may follow.

It’s pretty clear he’s tired of the grind. Yet like his playing days, you simply can’t rule him out.