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The Hard Way

More from Joe Dumars:

Detroit Pistons fans are tired of being invisible. Since my statement yesterday, I have spoken to dozens of them and all agree that our team will be the strongest Eastern Conference champion--and, let's face it, given the way the Leastern has performed the last several years, this is hardly a time to be taking chances.

I have the utmost respect for the Boston Celtics, who played a terrific series and whose fairy-tale run has inspired basketball fans across the country. But over the course of a long and sometimes grueling season, Detroit has won the popular vote, finishing number one in the league in overall attendance with over 1.6 million tickets sold.

We will be sitting down with fans and NBA officials to discuss what is in the best interests of the league, the conference, and, of course, our franchise. We are open to the idea of being co-conference-champions with the Celtics, if that is what is needed to defeat the Lakers--provided Rasheed Wallace still gets starter's minutes.

But don't rush us. Pistons fans are passionate about their team and it'd be a shame if something like this were to happen again:

--Christopher Orr