ORCHARD LAKE, Mich. (AP) _ Former basketball bad boy Bill Laimbeer says politics is too rough and mean for him, so he's rebuffing efforts to recruit him as a Republican congressional candidate.

Laimbeer, a member of the Detroit Pistons from 1981-94 and member of its championship teams in 1989 and 1990, owns a packaging business.

Laimbeer, 40, has attended the party's national convention and helped raise money for Republican U.S. Sen. Spencer Abraham.

State Republican spokesman Greg McNeilly said party leaders were trying to recruit Laimbeer to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee.

In his playing days, Laimbeer had a reputation for a bruising style. But politics ``is too ugly of a sport _ dog eat dog, and getting worse every day,'' he said.

``For many years, when someone is looking for a basketball coach or to go into politics ... my name gets thrown out there,'' he said. ``I am not interested.''

Ex-astronaut Jerry Linenger, an Eastpointe native, is also being wooed by the Republicans but says he is unlikely to run.