By Evan Kolin (’18)
The 2016-17 season will be the last one the Detroit Pistons play at the ‘Palace of Auburn Hills’.
In a press conference at Cass Tech High School on Tuesday, the team announced that they will be moving downtown next year into ‘Little Caesars Arena’, which is scheduled to be constructed by September 2017. Similar to what happens in other sports-rich cities such as New York and LA, the Pistons will have to share the complex with another Detroit franchise: the NHL’s Red Wings.
This move marks the end of a 29 year long era for the Pistons in Auburn Hills, an era that saw three championships and countless memories, from the 2004 title celebration to the ‘Malice at the Palace’.
Owner Tom Gores has dreamed of moving the franchise back downtown, where they haven’t resided since 1978 when the team first exited out to Pontiac, ever since he purchased the Pistons five years ago. “This is a historic day for our franchise, and for the City of Detroit,” Gores told The District Detroit. “We’re moving to a beautiful new arena that will provide a state-of-the-art fan experience, and we’re investing in the future of Detroit.”
Feelings have been incredibly mixed since the announcement, with the reactions by fans varying between responses of sorrow and thrill. David Schmidt, an Auburn Hills resident, explained to Detroit Free Press that “[the Pistons] are better off staying at [the Palace]. I don’t see as many kids and their parents going down there.” In comparison, Tasha Assen declared that a move to Detroit “would certainly be easier for us. And it’s fun now to go downtown. I think it’s a good move.”
Despite the differing opinions, nothing will change the fact that NBA games in the winter will no longer be played in the suburbs of Oakland County. However, as the three championship banners hang from the rafters of ‘Little Caesars Arena’, we will always remember where those titles were won. And maybe one day one more banner can rise, the franchise’s first championship as truly the Detroit Pistons.