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Basketball great, Joe Dumars, was born on May 24, 1963 in Shreveport, Louisiana. Dumars is a former basketball player in the NBA, and is currently President of Basketball Operations for the Detroit Pistons.
Joe Dumars set out to become a football player as a child, following in the footsteps of his brothers. However, after being roughly tackled in junior high school, Joe decided to pursue basketball, which proved to be a very wise move. In eighth grade Joe was able to secure pick-up games with nearby Northwestern State University students. During his youth, Joe's favorite basketball player was Julius Irving, whom Joe had the good fortune of playing against in his second NBA season and Irving's last. While Joe felt he had more ability in football, he excelled in basketball, enjoying the fact that he could play it alone.
At 6'3" Dumars could play either shooting guard or point guard on offense and was a highly effective defender. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Dumars and Isiah Thomas combined to form one of the best backcourts in NBA history. Initially a shooting guard, Dumars moved over to point guard following Thomas's retirement in 1994, sharing ball-handling duties with Grant Hill. Dumars was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
Joe Dumars consistent college record for game points and team wins resulted in his being drafted #18 in the first round for the Detroit Pistons in 1985. Dumars left McNeese as the 11th leading scorer in NCAA history. However, the Pistons did not draft Dumars to score, but rather, as a back-up to point guard Isiah Thomas. Even though Dumars wanted to score, he graciously filled the position where he was most needed. Because the Pistons needed a defensive player, Dumars focused on that as a rookie, even though he realized it would take him longer to realize his own dreams in the NBA. Even though he suffered a serious injury which required surgery and sidelined him for 12 games after he broke his hand during a game against the New York Knicks, Joe returned to play after only three weeks. By the start of the 1988-89 season, the Pistons were ready for all of Dumars's abilities, and he scored, passed, and played as good a defense as any player in the league. In one of his best games against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Joe scored 42 points, 24 of which were in the third quarter, making 17 consecutive points.
Though touted as one of basketball's top defensive guards, Joe soon received increased attention for his offensive abilities. By the 1988-89 season, the Pistons made it to the NBA Finals, where Joe, sporting number 4 on his uniform, was largely responsible for the team's 1989 championship win against the Los Angeles Lakers. In Los Angeles, Dumars shifted into overdrive, winning the third game for the Pistons where, during the third quarter of the game, he scored 17 points in a row, never missing. Viewers kept waiting for him to miss and it was scary the way he never did. Detroit swept the series in four straight games, with Dumars averaging 27.3 points per game--58% shooting from the field. This was Detroit's first NBA title, for which Joe was named the Most Valuable Player. To win this NBA title, the Pistons needed someone to step forward on offense to take some load off Isiah Thomas, and this someone proved to be Joe Dumars. Thereafter, the Pistons were known as "The Bad Boys," though Dumars humbly played oftentimes without the fame and glory received by some of his teammates, much to the chagrin of his fellow players. Isiah Thomas once complained that the credit was given to other guards in the league, while failing to mention Dumars, whom Isiah feels is one of the best guards in the league. Indeed, Dumars scored almost as many points per game as Thomas during the 1988-89 season.
Joe Dumars and the Pistons, no longer underrated, went on to another league title in 1989-90, this time with Isiah Thomas starring in the defeat of Portland. No longer seen just as a defensive player, Dumars showed his talent and firepower in the offense as well. As an established star, Joe again succeeded in scoring and guarding, helping the Pistons to win this second championship, resulting in Joe's being selected for the All-Star team, a first in his career.
Since then, Joe Dumars has continued to excel. In 1991 he assisted Detroit in lead scoring for the first time; in 1994 Dumars tied the record for the most 3-pointers in a regular NBA season with Brian Shaw of Orlando with ten 3-pointers in a November game against the Minnesota Timberwolves; he won a gold medal as captain of the Dream Team at the 1994 World Championship; and, in 1995, Joe again tied the NBA record with seven 3-pointers in one half of an April game against Orlando Magic.