The Chicago Bulls rivalry with the Detroit Pistons is arguably the most intense in NBA history. Their meetings in the playoffs from 1988 to 1991 were physical wars. Detroit owned the matchup through the first three series, two of which saw them go on win the championship. Then in ’91, the Bulls got ultimate revenge by sweeping the Pistons out of the Eastern Conference Finals.
That blood feud wasn’t limited to on the court either. Bulls and Pistons fans got equally heated with each other. So much so that there were conspiracy theories that extended into the video game world. One went so far as to state the classic arcade game NBA Jam was rigged against Chicago whenever they played Detroit. How? The strange way Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant would start missing every shot in the final seconds.
It sounded crazy for years. At last though, the theory received confirmation from the game’s creator Mark Turmell. He admitted in a recent interview that he grew up in Michigan and was a huge Pistons fan. So when he started making NBA Jam in the late 1980s, he couldn’t help but troll the Bulls with intentional sabotage.
Chicago Bulls were playing handicapped in that game anyway
If that weren’t bad enough, don’t forget the Bulls were playing handicapped anyway. Michael Jordan wasn’t even a selectable character for the team. Just goes to show that sports rivalries can make people do some crazy things sometimes.
Pistons fans certainly have their share of conspiracy theories about the Bulls. Namely the idea that Jordan played a central role in leaving Isaiah Thomas off the 1992 Dream Team. Something Jordan denies to this day. Who knows. Perhaps he might finally confirm it after enough time has passed. Then again, given how much the two still hate each other? That’s doubtful.