How did the Detroit Pistons get their name?


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Most people assume that the Detroit Pistons received their moniker because of the historic connection between the city of Detroit and the motor industry, however, the ‘Pistons’ nickname actually pre-dates their arrival in Motor City.

How did the Detriot Pistons get their name? Fred Zollner ran a foundry that produced pistons. Zollner founded the team and used the Pistons in the name.

The Franchise was founded in 1941 in Fort Wayne, Indiana and was originally named the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons. This was because their owner Fred Zollner ran a foundry that produced Pistons for cars, trucks and locomotive engines. Read on to find out how the franchise ended up in Detriot.

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History of the Detriot Pistons

These ‘Zollner Pistons’ played in the Basketball Association of America (BAA), in 1948 the team dropped the ‘Zollner’ from their title to become the Fort Wayne Pistons. One year later the BAA, merged with the National Basketball League (NBL) to create the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the Fort Wayne Pistons being one of the founding members of the newly formed NBA.

The Pistons enjoyed strong local support, however it soon became apparent that to remain competitive with new NBA rivals based in bigger cities such as New York and Boston the Pistons would need to move. In 1957, Fred Zollner moved the team to Detroit. Professional Basketball had not been played in Detroit since the Detroit Falcons folded in 1947 after 1 season in the BAA, and the Detroit Vagabond Kings folded after half a season in the NBL in 1949.

Detroit was of course famous for its automotive history, nicked the Motor City it was home to Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, known as the Big Three and at the time not just the most successful auto manufacturers in the United States but around the world. With this in mind, the Pistons moniker seemed more than adapt and has stayed with the team ever since.

Where do the Detroit Pistons play basketball?

Since the 2017-18 NBA season the Detroit Pistons have played Basketball at the Little Caesars Arena in midtown Detroit. They share the arena with the NHL team the Detroit Red Wings. The move to Midtown Detroit was of particular relevance to the city of Detroit, as before this the Pistons played in the Palace of Auburn Hills, 32 miles from the centre of Detroit and outside the city limits.

How long did the Pistons play at the Palace of Auburn Hills?

The Detroit Pistons played at the Palace of Auburn Hills from the 1988/89 season until the 2016/2017, a total of 29 NBA season. In which they won 3 NBA championships. This started in the 1988/89 season when the ‘Bad Boy Pistons’ of Isiah Thomas won the Franchises first Championship sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers in 4 Games, They followed this up, by becoming back to back champions the year after beating the Portland Trail Blazers 4-1 in the 1989-90 NBA finals. After such a great start to life in a new arena the Pistons then had to wait 14 years before winning the title again, with the 2003/04 ‘Going to Work’ Pistons beating the Los Angeles Lakers 4-1 in the finals to claim the 3rd Championship for the Franchise. The address for the Palace of Auburn Hills was 6 Championship Drive, named after the 3 NBA Championships, that the Pistons won and also the 3 WNBA Championships claimed by the buildings other tenant the Detroit Shock (2003, 2006 and 2008 Championships).

Where else have the Detroit Pistons played basketball?

Before moving to the Palace of Auburn Hills the Pistons shared a stadium with the Detroit Lions of the NFL at the Pontiac Silverdome for 10 years, between the 1977 to 1988 seasons.

From 1961 until 1978 the Pistons played at the Cobo Arena in downtown Detroit named after Albert Cobo who was the Major of Detroit from 1950 to 1957.

From 1957 to 1961 the Pistons played at the Olympia Stadium in Detroit, sharing the building with the Detroit Red Wings Ice Hockey team.

Ady

Ady first fell in love with basketball following a trip to Orlando in 1994. Ady has been to three NBA All Star Games and has the largest collection of basketball Jerseys in the UK (probably!)

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