Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Dumars, Joe

Front office, back court – no matter where he plays, Joe Dumars is a proven winner for the Detroit Pistons, with a quiet and understated style. In recognition, the National Basketball Association named its sportsmanship trophy after him. An NBA executive summed it up best by saying, “Joe is the epitome of class.”

Such class first became apparent to Detroiters in 1985 when the Louisiana native was drafted in the first round out of McNeese State University. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard combined with Isiah Thomas to form one of the finest backcourts of the era and the Pistons went to the NBA Finals in three straight seasons. Dumars was named Most Valuable Player of the 1989 Finals; averaging 27.3 points a game as the Pistons swept the series to their first title. The following spring he played through his father’s untimely death as the Pistons won a second straight championship.

Dumars was a smooth ball handler and shooter and a tenacious defender. Michael Jordan called the six-time All-Star the best defender he ever had to play against. Overall, he played 14 seasons and averaged 16.1 points per game. He retired second in the club history in points, steals and assists.

As Pistons president of basketball operations since 2000, Dumars has been responsible for assembling teams that made the conference finals five straight seasons and won the NBA title in 2004.