Pistons Say Goodbye To The Palace [Video]
For the second time in as many days, a Detroit sports team bid goodbye to their home arena. This time it was the Pistons bidding adieu to the Palace of Auburn Hills, a place where they won three NBA championships.
Like the Red Wings before them, the Pistons were in a funk before moving to the Palace in 1988, and then new digs rewarded them instantly. They won NBA titles in their first two years in the suburban arena, located near Pontiac, 25 miles north of Detroit.
Next year, the Pistons will move back into downtown Detroit, sharing the new Little Caesar’s Arena with the Wings.
But unlike the Red Wings, the Pistons lost their last game in their old arena, 105-101 to the Washington Wizards, and unlike Red Wings fans, who turned out en masse for the hockey team’s last game, Piston fans seemed blase about the last game at The Palace, it didn’t quite sell out.
Which is weird, because in its prime, The Palace was the loudest place in the league, as well as notorious.
In the Bad Boy era, drunken fans could get unruly at times, and who can forget the famed brawl between drunken Piston fans and the Indiana Pacers in November of 2004, a melee that resulted in five players being suspended and five fans facing criminal charges as well as being banned from The Palace for life.
Many of the Bad Boys, including ever weird Dennis Rodman and Isiah Thomas returned to The Palace for the final game, as did Ben Wallace, who led the Pistons to their last title in 2004.
Wallace seemed wistful in recalling his time at the Palace, wondering why a place still in good shape is being abandoned, telling Fox 17, ‘It’s hard to believe it’s going to be the last night here because this arena is still in better shape than a lot of the arenas around the league. We had a lot of special times here.”
The NBA put together this tribute to the Palace, which unlike Joe Louis Arena, won’t be torn down right away, as future plans for the area remain unsolved.
And legendary Pistons radio announcer George Blaha shared his memories of the Palace on Detroit’s WXYZ.