AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Jack McCloskey, the general manager who built the Detroit Pistons’ “Bad Boys” championship teams, has died. He was 91.
The Pistons said McCloskey died Thursday in Savannah, Georgia. He had fought Alzheimer’s disease.
Led by McCloskey draft picks Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman — all Hall of Famers, along with coach Chuck Daly — and trade acquisitions Bill Laimbeer, Vinnie Johnson, Rick Mahorn, Mark Aguirre and James Edwards, the Pistons won NBA titles in 1989 and 1990.
Known as “Trader Jack,” McCloskey helped guide Detroit to nine straight playoff appearances, five Eastern Conference Finals in a row and three NBA Finals. He was honored in 2008 with a retirement ceremony, where his name was lifted to the rafters.
“Jack was one of the most competitive individuals I have known,” Laimbeer said. “He surrounded our team with like kind.”
McCloskey played at the University of Pennsylvania, served in World War II with the U.S. Marines and played one game in the NBA for the Philadelphia Warriors in the 1952-53 season.
He was Penn’s head coach from 1956-66, coached Wake Forest from 1966-72, and was the Portland Trail Blazers’ coach from 1972-74, going 48-116. He was an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers until taking the Pistons’ job, and also worked for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Toronto Raptors.