The 1989 Detroit Pistons brawled and braised their way to the NBA championship on a volatile combination of ego, anger, and extraordinary talent. In this exceptional chronicle, Stauth, who spent the year observing the team, begins with the Pistons' bitter defeat by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1988 and continues through a season of trades, controversy, and upheaval that culminated in victory. Stauth tells the story game by game, with looks back to 1980 when general manager Jack McCloskey began building his team by taking apart the miserable one he'd inherited. Beginning a series of 29 trades in nine years, ""Trader"" McCloskey shocked Detroit fans by unloading the popular Hal Lanier and Bob McAdoo. The new GM wanted ""Coalminer Style"" players, those who would dish out and accept punishment on the road to victory. The team he built was a perfect blend of finesse and brawn. Led by sharpshooter Isaiah Thomas, the gang included bruisers Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn, who did more than their share to earn the ""Bad Boys"" image. With the driving style of Joe Dumars and Vinnie Johnson and, later, with the shocking trade of moody Adrian Dantley for the temperamental Mark Aguirre, McCloskey had the mix he wanted. Though the Pistons did not have a scorer in the top 20, they were so intimidating on defense that they were able to batter more talented teams like Cleveland into submission. When the rematch came with the Lakers, the Pistons followed their romp through the play-offs with a 4-0 blowout. Suspenseful, perceptive, and alive with the language of the courts: a slam-dunk basketball classic.