The Detroit Pistons are a National Basketball Association team based in the Detroit, Michigan metropolitan area.
- Founded: 1941 as Ft. Wayne Zollner Pistons in National Basketball League, joined National Basketball Association in 1948. Relocated to Detroit in 1957.
- Formerly known as: Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons (1941-48), Fort Wayne Pistons (1948-57)
- Home Arena: The Palace of Auburn Hills
- Uniform colors: Red, white and blue
- Logo design: A basketball with "PISTONS" superimposed upon it.
- NBL Championships: 1944, 1945 (in Fort Wayne)
- NBA Eastern Division Championships: 1954, 1955 (in Fort Wayne)
- NBA Central Division Championships: 1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2005
- NBA Eastern Conference Championships: 1988, 1989, 1990, 2004
- NBA Championships: 1989, 1990, 2004
- 2004-2005 Record: 54-28
The franchise was founded in 1941 in Fort Wayne, Indiana by Fred Zollner, owner of a General Motors subsidiary that manufactored pistons. It is the oldest existing franchise in the NBA. Led by star forward George Yardley, the Fort Wayne Pistons were a popular franchise and appeared in the NBA Finals in 1954 and 1955, losing both times. In 1957, Zollner moved the team to Detroit, a much larger city that did not have an NBA franchise; the Detroit Gems had folded after one season of existence. The new Detroit Pistons played in Olympia Stadium for their first four seasons, then moved to Cobo Arena. The franchise was a consistent disappointment, struggling on both the court and the box office. In 1974, Zollner sold the team to Bill Davidson, who remains the team's owner. Displeased with the team's location in downtown Detroit, Davidson moved it to the suburb of Pontiac in 1978, where it played in the mammoth Silverdome, a structure built for professional football. (The Silverdome was the home of the NFL's Detroit Lions at the time.)
The franchise's fortunes finally began to turn in 1981, when it drafted point guard Isiah Thomas out of Indiana University. In early 1982, it acquired center Bill Laimbeer and guard Vinnie Johnson . The three, along with later aquisitions Joe Dumars, Rick Mahorn, and Dennis Rodman, formed the core of a team that would rise to the top of the league. With their physical style of play, and intensity with opponents, the Pistons gained the nickname "Bad Boys." Coach Chuck Daly took the team to the NBA Finals three consecutive years (1988-90) and won NBA championships in 1989 and 1990. The team moved into the lavish Palace of Auburn Hills in 1988 and remains there today.
The franchise went through a lengthy transitional period as its key players either retired or left. Though Grant Hill emerged as a gifted player, the team was unable to win a playoff series, losing to the Orlando Magic in 1996, the Atlanta Hawks in 1997 and 1999, and the Miami Heat in 2000. In the summer of 2000, Hill indicated his intentions to leave to Orlando, and Dumars – appointed the franchise's president of basketball operations that year – dealt Hill to the Magic in return for a pair of largely unheralded players. One of them, Ben Wallace, would prove to be a cornerstone for the franchise's revamped roster. Under Dumars's leadership, the Pistons have since surrounded Wallace with rising stars Chauncey Billups, Richard "Rip" Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince. Coached by Hall of Fame inductee Larry Brown, the Pistons returned to prominence, winning the 2004 NBA championship. Presently, they are considered a strong contender to win a second consecutive title in 2005.
On November 19, 2004, the Detroit Pistons were involved in a massive brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills during a losing home game against the Indiana Pacers. After fouling Pistons' Ben Wallace, Pacer Ron Artest was hit by a cup while lying down on the scorer's table. This caused Artest to rush into the stands and attack some fans. Other Pacers such as Jermaine O'Neal fought with fans who had flooded onto the court. A month later, five Pacers and seven fans were charged after being involved in the "basketbrawl."
See also: The Malice at The Palace.
Players of note
Not to be forgotten:
Coaches and others
Basketball Hall of Fame Members: