At his introductory press conference on Friday afternoon, Cade Cunningham glanced down at his jersey and seemed to be drawn in by the moment.
Cunningham, the No. 1 pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, was seeing his Pistons jersey for the first time, which is a special moment, but there’s a greater significance.
Cunningham will wear No. 2, which is a special honor, because that number was retired in honor of Chuck Daly, who coached the Bad Boys teams to back-to-back NBA titles in 1989 and 1990.
With permission from the Daly family, Cunningham was able to don the number he wore in college at Oklahoma State — and with it, the responsibility that goes along with representing the Pistons and the city. Cunningham took a moment to thank Daly’s daughter, Cydney.
“I just wanted to say a special thank you to Cydney Daly for giving the organization her blessing to allow me to wear my traditional number, No. 2,” Cunningham said. “That means so much to me, and I know how much these numbers mean (in the rafters) and I know that the people that came before me, really built something special in Detroit, and those legacies live on forever.”
Daly got the No. 2 for his two championships with the Bad Boys and coached in Detroit from 1983-1992, when he also coached the Dream Team to a gold medal in the Olympics.
He made a mark on the Pistons franchise, but also the NBA community before he passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2009.
“I want to wear that No. 2 with respect to Chuck Daly, a legend forever — and I don’t want that name to ever die,” Cunningham said. “I want to rebuild what he had going on in Detroit and bring that same energy that the Bad Boys Pistons and the teams that he led and bring that same energy back to the Pistons today.
“Special thank you to Ms. Cydney Daly. I’m beyond honored for that number, and beyond honored for getting your blessing for that.”