The Shock was one of the first WNBA expansion teams and began to play in 1998. The Detroit Shock quickly brought in a blend of rookies and veterans. The Shock’s first coach was Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman. The Shock would start out their inaugural season 0-4 but would put together an amazing expansion season, and finish 17-13, missing out on the postseason by one game.
The 2002 Shock started the season 0-10, at which point Williams was fired and replaced by former Detroit Pistons legend Bill Laimbeer. The team finished the season 9-23, but Laimbeer’s ideas influenced the team’s front office, who agreed with the new coach’s ideas; including bringing over some new players that he felt were necessary for the Shock to become a contender.
After massive changes to the roster, Laimbeer predicted before the 2003 season that the Shock would be league champions, and his prediction would unbelievably come true. The Shock would tear up the East in the regular season, posting a 25-9 record and winning the #1 seed by 7 games. In the playoffs, the Shock would defeat the Cleveland Rockers 2-1 for their first playoff series win in franchise history. In the Conference Finals, the Shock swept the Connecticut Sun 2-0 to reach the WNBA Finals. Despite the achievements, the Shock were viewed as huge underdogs to the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Sparks, who were looking for a three-peat. The Shock would emerge victorious in the series, winning a thrilling Game Three 83-78. That game would draw the largest crowd ever in WNBA history (22,076 came to watch). Detroit, much like the 1991 Minnesota Twins in baseball, became the first team in WNBA history to make it from last place one season to WNBA champions the very next season.
The 2006 Shock came out hungry and poised for a playoff run. The Shock performed well during the regular season, posting a 23-11 record and winning the #2 seed in the playoffs. The Shock went on to make quick work of the Indiana Fever, sweeping them in the first round. In the Conference Finals, the Shock would be matched up against the Sun. This time, the Shock emerged victorious from the hard-fought series, winning it 2-1. In the Finals, which were now best-of-five, the Shock faced the defending champion Sacramento Monarchs. The Shock lost game 1, getting handily defeated 95-71 at home. The Shock rallied in game 2 to even up the series 1-1. Going to Sacramento, the Shock were defeated in Game Three 89-69. With their backs against the wall, the Shock dominated the Monarchs in game 4, 72-52, setting up the crucial Game 5 in Detroit. At halftime in game 5, the Shock would find themselves down 44-36. However, in the third quarter, the Shock would outscore the Monarchs 22-9, gaining a 58-53 lead going into the final quarter. The Shock held off the Monarchs in the last quarter and win the game 78-73, and the championship 3 games to 2. They became the first WNBA team to win non-consecutive championships and to win the Finals after being down 2 games to 1. They also were involved in the first WNBA Finals to go 5 games.
Entering the 2008 postseason, the Shock posted a 22-12 regular-season record, the best record in the East. In the first round against the Indiana Fever, Detroit handled Indiana in 3 games. Due to the scheduling of other events at the Palace, the Shock had to play their home playoff games in the conference and league finals at Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Center in Ypsilanti. In the conference finals against the New York Liberty, the Shock would face another 3 games series, but Detroit earned the series victory, moving on to the WNBA Finals against the league-best San Antonio Silver Stars. Although the Silver Stars had the best record in the league in 2008, Detroit managed to sweep San Antonio, capturing their 3rd championship in franchise history.
The Detroit Shock was a Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) team based in Auburn Hills, Michigan. They were the 2003, 2006, and 2008 WNBA champions.
Debuting in 1998, it was one of the league’s first expansion franchises. It was also the first WNBA expansion franchise to win a WNBA Championship. The team was the sister team of the Detroit Pistons and from 2002 to the 2009 season was coached by Pistons legend Bill Laimbeer.
On October 20, 2009, it was announced that the Shock would be moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma to play in the new downtown arena, the BOK Center. Former men’s college coach Nolan Richardson was named the team’s new head coach. The Shock roster and history was retained along with the Shock name, but the team colors were changed to black, red, and gold. The franchise is currently known as Dallas Wings.
Detroit – Tulsa – Dallas
1998 – Present / Women’s National Basketball Association
2016 – Present / Dallas Wings
2010 – 2015 / Tulsa Shock
1998 – 2009 / Detroit Shock
Shock – Named for its relation to the NBA Detroit Pistons, and as a shock absorber on the hardwood court.
WNBA Championships 0
2016 – Present / College Park Center
2010 – 2015 / BOK Center
1998 – 2009 / The Palace of Auburn Hills
2016 – Present / Bill Cameron, Chris Christian and Mark Yancey
2010 – 2015 / Tulsa Pro Hoops LLC
1998–2009 / William Davidson
*Blue is this team’s history