Though the Pistons enjoyed a solid local following, Fort Wayne’s small size made it difficult for them to be profitable, especially as other early NBA teams based in smaller cities started folding or relocating to larger markets. After the 1956 – 1957 season, Zollner decided that Fort Wayne was too small to support an NBA team and announced the team would be playing elsewhere in the coming season. He ultimately settled on Detroit. Although it was the fifth largest city in the United States at the time, Detroit had not seen professional basketball in a decade. In 1947, they had lost the Detroit Gems of the NBL (whose remnants became the Minneapolis Lakers), and the Detroit Falcons of the BAA. Zollner decided to keep the Pistons name, believing it made sense given Detroit’s status as the center of the automobile industry.
The new Detroit Pistons played in Olympia Stadium (home of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings at the time) for their first four seasons, then moved to Cobo Arena. The franchise was a consistent disappointment, struggling both on the court and at the box office.
The Silverdome (formerly known as the Pontiac Silverdome) is a formerly domed stadium located in the city of Pontiac, Michigan. The stadium complex, which opened in 1975 and had its first closing in 2006, sits on 127 acres (51 ha). The Silverdome hosted the Detroit Pistons in 1978 till 1988.
The Detroit Pistons also set numerous NBA attendance records during their time at the Silverdome; Regular Season, 61,983 vs. Boston, January 29, 1988; Playoffs, 41,732, vs. L.A. Lakers, June 16, 1988.
The Palace of Auburn Hills (commonly referred to as The Palace) is a sports and entertainment venue in Auburn Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Opening in 1988, it is the home of the Detroit Pistons, of the NBA.
From 1957 to 1978, the Pistons competed in Detroit’s Olympia Stadium and Cobo Arena. In 1978, owner Bill Davidson elected not to share the new Joe Louis Arena with the Detroit Red Wings, and instead chose to relocate the team to the Pontiac Silverdome, a venue constructed for football, where they remained for the next decade. While the Silverdome could accommodate massive crowds, it offered substandard sight lines for basketball viewing. A group led by Davidson bought vacant land in Auburn Hills from Joseph Shewach and built The Palace there for the relatively low cost of $70 million, using entirely private funding. The Davidson family held a controlling interest in the arena until Tom Gores purchased majority share in 2011.
NBA Finals – 1989
The 1989 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1988 – 1989 NBA season. The series was a rematch of the previous year’s championship round between the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Lakers.
NBA Finals – 1990
The 1990 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1989 – 1990 NBA season. The series pitted the Detroit Pistons (the previous year’s champions) against the Portland Trail Blazers. This was the first NBA Finals since 1979 not to involve either the Lakers or the Celtics. The Pistons became just the third franchise in NBA history to win back-to-back championships, joining the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics.
NBA Finals – 2004
The 2004 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 2003 – 2004 National Basketball Association season. The Finals were between the Los Angeles Lakers of the Western Conference and the Detroit Pistons of the Eastern Conference; the Lakers held home court advantage. The series was played under a best-of-seven format, so the first team to collect four game victories would win the series.
The Detroit Pistons are an American professional basketball team based in Auburn Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The Pistons compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member club of the league’s Eastern Conference Central Division. The team plays its home games at The Palace of Auburn Hills and was founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana as the Fort Wayne (Zollner) Pistons in 1941, a member of the National Basketball League (NBL). The Pistons joined the Basketball Association of America (BAA) in 1948. In 1949, the NBL and BAA merged to become the NBA, and the Pistons became part of the merged league. Since moving to Detroit in 1957, the Pistons have won three NBA championships in 1989, 1990 and 2004.
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 - Originally the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons, the teams name comes from team owner Frank Zollners piston manufacturing company. Owners Fred Zollner and his sister Janet’s Zollner Corporation was a foundry, manufacturing pistons, primarily for car, truck and locomotive engines.
NBA Championships 3
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
Who is the greatest Detroit Pistons?
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
1996 – Present / Hooper
Unknown – 1996 / Sir Slam A Lot
*Blue is this team’s history