Every week, John Salley, onetime Bad Boy and currently the arachnoid half of the Spider and the Henchman podcast, will regale us with an amusing and occasionally salacious story from his playing days. Today: Zeke is not pleased with Salley's rehab methods.
It's February 1989. I get injured, and then the Pistons trade Adrian Dantley for Mark Aguirre, and I'm pissed off. I'm really crying. A.D. was The Teacher. Not long after that, Chuck Daly puts me on injured reserve. So I'm out 15 games with a stress fracture that no one gave a fuck about until they brought Mark Aguirre in and needed to give him a lot of playing time. So they put Salley on injured reserve and say to Mark, You step in, learn the offense, get used to everything.
All right, cool.
After five days, I'm fine. The stress fracture has healed, and I've got new orthotics and everything. But I've got 10 days of not playing. Well, the team goes on a roadtrip, and I'm like, fuck it, I'm getting on a plane and going to Atlanta. I'm gonna hang out with Moms and get some food, yadda yadda yadda. [Ed. note: At this point in the story, Salley makes the kind of slapping sound that suggests he hung out with women in Atlanta who were not Moms.] I need to go down and relax. By the time they come back from the trip, I'll be back for practice.
The team leaves for the airport. (An aside: Whenever we flew out, we'd always go to this place called the Landing Strip, which is a strip joint, obviously. We'd be there all afternoon until 20 minutes before our flight was scheduled to leave, and then you'd see every car zipping into the airport, and Chuck would be like, "Ten minutes, and we would've left without you.")
Anyway, the team leaves for the airport, and I go to rehab and tell the guy: "Yo, man, I'm not gonna be in. I'm healed. You know I'm healed. I'll be back when the team is back." I go the airport, and I get on my Delta flight, and I fly out.
Meanwhile, something happens to the team's private jet. The flight's canceled, and those guys have to fly commercial. Now, Detroit is the size of a postage stamp. As soon as I got on that plane, word got out that I was leaving town. So now my teammates know. But I ain't got no cell; nobody's calling me. I don't know that they know.
So after the trip, I rejoin the team, and Isiah comes up to me.
"You see the game, Sal?"
"Yeah," I say. "You guys put it down."
"Sal, you watch the game?"
"Yeah," I say. "I know what y'all did."
He goes, "Did you watch the game?"
Now, this is before DIRECTV, ladies and gentlemen. This is before Time Warner Cable. If you're in Atlanta, you're not watching the Pistons play Milwaukee.
I say, "Man, fuck, you know I don't like watching the games."
He goes, "Well, why didn't you watch the game?"
"Why do I have to watch the game?" I say. Everyone's giving me the stare. I'm thinking, These motherfuckers know.
Isiah says, "Sal, when we're out there playing, you can't —"
"Zeke," I say, "you put me on injured reserve so Mark can get 25 minutes a game. What difference does it make if I watch you motherfuckers play Milwaukee, when all you really care about is Mark getting 25 minutes a game? I'm on injured reserve. I'm not even supposed to be on injured reserve."
But no one steps up for me. They're all taking Isiah's side. Even Dennis Rodman didn't tell me what the deal was. This was when I really started falling out with this motherfucker. I'm like, "How do you not give me the heads-up?" He says, "Man, Sal, you're supposed to be a teammate."
Fine. OK, I went to Atlanta. Fuck y'all, I didn't watch the game. There's nothing they can do about it.
Flash to my last year with the Pistons. Isiah gets hit in the eye by Karl Malone, and he's bleeding. Isiah goes to the motherfucking Bahamas for a week and sits in the sun. When he gets back, I go up to him.
"Hey, motherfucker, did you watch the game?"
He says: "Nah, Sal. I had my shades on, man. Plus, you know I had to take care of [Ed. note: There's a mildly suspicious edit in the podcast here.]"
So I get bitched at for going to Atlanta and getting some pussy. He goes to the Bahamas with his wife to get some color. Ain't that some bullshit?