- 1944 - 1945
The Detroit Pistons’ franchise was founded as the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons, a National Basketball League (NBL) team, playing in the gym of North Side High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Owners Fred Zollner and his sister Janet’s Zollner Corporation was a foundry, manufacturing pistons, primarily for car, truck, and locomotive engines. Fred Zollner, who currently owns a professional softball ...
1944 The Zollner Pistons continued to fire on all cylinders winning their second straight regular-season title with an 18-4 record. In the playoffs, the Pistons would roll through the competition beating the Cleveland Chase Brassmen in two straight games before sweeping the Sheboygan Red Skins to capture the NBL Championship. 1945 Coming off their NBL Championship the Zollner Pistons continued ...
The NBL continues to lose talent to the BAA prompting talk of a merger. Among the people leading the calls for a merger is Pistons Owner Fred Zollner. The Zollner Pistons would go on to finish in third place with a record of 40-20. In the playoffs, the Zollner Pistons would once again be taken out by the Rochester Royals ...
History of the Pistons
The Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons were an American professional basketball team based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The franchise was founded in 1941 by Fred Zollner as a National Basketball League (NBL) member. They played their home games at North Side High School Gymnasium and won two NBL championships before joining the Basketball Association of America (BAA) in 1948. In 1949, they moved to Detroit and became the Detroit Pistons.
The Zollner Pistons successfully ran with the NBL, winning two league titles between 1944-45 and 1945-46 seasons under coach Murray Mendenhall. During this period, they featured some of the greatest players from that era, such as George Glamack, Ralph Hamilton, Bill Karrasch, and Howie Schultz, who helped lead them to victory over teams like Oshkosh All Stars or Sheboygan Redskins for those titles wins. Their success also included making it to finals four times out of five years within the same span. Unfortunately, they lost on each occasion except when they beat Anderson Duffey Packers for the championship title-winning season 1945–46 campaign.
In addition to being champions twice during its tenure with NBL, Fort Wayne Zollner pistons are credited for introducing several innovations which later became standard practice throughout the NBA today, including playing three full-court zones instead of the traditional man-to-man defense used back then. Also, every use of a “fast break” offense is still a popular strategy many modern-day teams employ nowadays. Last but not least, due to the popularity gained while playing Fort Wayne, Zollner Pistons became founding members of BAA (which later merged into the NBA ). Eventually, it moved to the City of Detroit, continuing its legacy.
Zollner Pistons Products
Fort Wayne - Detroit
1949 – Present / National Basketball Association
1948 – 1949 / Basketball Association of America
1941 – 1948 / National Basketball League
1957 – Present / Detroit Pistons
1948 – 1957 / Fort Wayne Pistons
1941 – 1948 / Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons
Pistons - The Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons are among the most iconic teams in the history of the NBA. The team, founded in 1941, had a unique nickname that has remained with them throughout their decades. But where did this unusual name come from?
The answer lies with the team’s founder and owner, Fred Zollner. Born in Germany, he moved to America when he was just 16 years old. He eventually settled down near Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he started his own foundry business called “Zollner Corporation,” which specialized in producing pistons for automobile engines. It is believed that this is how they got their name as an homage to both Mr. Zollner himself and his company's products - hence why they were named after him rather than any other city or state-related names like many other sports teams during those times would have been given!
This unique moniker has become synonymous with the franchise over its long history; it even survived through two relocation moves (from Fort Wayne to Detroit, then again back home). Today, fans still proudly wear jerseys featuring "Pistons" across their front - a testament to loyalty towards such an endearing part of American sports culture!
NBA Championships 0
2004, 1990, 1989
2016 – Present / Little Caesars Arena
1988 – 2016 / The Palace of Auburn Hills
1978 – 1988 / Pontiac Silverdome
1961 – 1978 / Cobo Arena
1957 – 1961 / Olympia Stadium
1952 – 1957 / Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
1941 – 1952 / North Side High School Gym
2011 – Present / Tom Gores
2009 – 2011 / Karen Davidson
1974 – 2009 / William Davidson
1941 – 1974 / Fred Zollner
To qualify as the greatest player for this team, the player must have played one season for this team. If not, we will remove the player.
* verifies that player has played for this team as an added player by a fan.
1 / Chauncey Billups
2 / Chuck Daly
3 / Ben Wallace
4 / Joe Dumars
10 / Dennis Rodman
11 / Isiah Thomas
15 / Vinnie Johnson
16 / Bob Lanier
21 / Dave Bing
32 / Richard Hamilton
40 / Bill Laimbeer
– / William Davidson
– / Jack McCloskey
*Blue is this team’s history