Former Detroit Pistons GM, 'Bad Boys' engineer Jack McCloskey dies at 91

By The Sports Xchange

Jack McCloskey, who assembled two NBA championship teams as general manager of the Detroit Pistons, died Thursday in Savannah, Ga., the team announced.

McCloskey, 91, had Alzheimer's disease, and his wife, Leslie, told the Detroit Free Press last month that he was in a Savannah facility that cares for patients with Alzheimer's and dementia.


McCloskey ran the Pistons' front office from 1979-1992, leading the "Bad Boy" teams to titles in 1989 and 1990. During his watch, Detroit made nine consecutive playoff appearances (1984-92), reached the Eastern Conference finals five years in a row and appeared in the NBA Finals three times.

Isiah Thomas, his 1981 first-round pick; Joe Dumars, his 1985 first-round pick; and Dennis Rodman, his 1986 second-round pick, all wound up in the Basketball Hall of Fame. The same year Rodman was selected, John Salley was Detroit's first-round choice.

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"Trader Jack" McCloskey also swung deals for Vinnie Johnson, Bill Laimbeer Rick Mahorn, James Edwards and Mark Aguirre, all key pieces in the Pistons' glory years.

Mahorn told the Free Press, "He was responsible for bringing me here. Jack knew how to put teams together. He was a great judge of talent and then Chuck was able to mold that talent into a championship team."


McCloskey hired Chuck Daly as the Pistons' coach in 1983, and Daly went on to post Detroit records for regular-season wins (467) and playoff wins (71) in a Hall of Fame career.

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A World War II veteran, McCloskey played one game in the NBA, scoring six points and grabbing three rebounds for the Philadelphia Warriors on Jan. 29, 1953.

He went on to coach at the University of Pennsylvania (1956-66) and at Wake Forest (1966-72) before compiling a 48-116 record as coach of the Portland Trail Blazers from 1972-74.

Following his time as the Pistons GM, McCloskey was the GM of the Minnesota Timberwolves from June 1992-May 1995.

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