Detroit Pistons

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The Detroit Pistons are a lesson in why it’s important to enjoy the moment. I wish someone had warned me in 2008. The team has brought much joy to the city of Detroit, with three titles and sustained stretches where they were a mainstay in the playoffs, but none of it has come lately. In the past 15 seasons, the Pistons have made the playoffs just three times and got swept in the first round of each of them. Their drought of playoff wins is the longest in the NBA and their 14-game losing streak in the playoffs is the longest in professional sports. Throw in a string of failed coaches, missed draft picks, and terrible trades and you have a franchise mired in misery. In 2022-23, the team lost its best player and franchise hope after 12 games, culminating in a 17-win season that was one of the worst in franchise history. Despite this, Pistons fans keep showing up. Detroit was 12th in attendance last season, even though many of the games had G-League teams on the court. They are a force on social media, clapping back at anyone who comes after our guys, making jokes and elaborate plans for the future, debating the details of every move, and continuing to support this team even though it’s given them little reason to. When we say “Detroit vs. Everybody” we mean it and these fans have ridden with their team through all of the strife and somehow kept good humor and optimism. As Zach Lowe and JJ Redick have said recently, these are championship fans and they’ll be ready when the team finally matches that level.
- Aaron Kellerstrass
Piston Powered Site Expert

How this fandom made the world a better place

Misery creates strong communities and that’s what the Pistons have in their fandom, a community. This fandom has given fans a place to talk, celebrate, and debate, a chance to air their grievances and share their pain and joy. There are mainstays that we all know, from the old heads of Pistons Twitter to the kids with Cade Cunningham avatars. We argue and debate, but it usually stays civil, and the community rallies when someone is in need. I’ve watched GoFund accounts for sick fans blow up with donations, money raised for charities around Detroit, and a general sense of support. It sounds cheesy, but I’ve made friends through this fandom, people I’ve never met in real life who give a damn, celebrate each other’s work, and are generally supportive in defiance of most groups on social media. It’s a multi-cultural, diverse group that gets along, which in itself stands out in a weary world.

What emotion defined this fandom this year?

Hope. The Pistons finally had some coming into last season with an exciting cast of young players led by Cade Cunningham. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see much of them because of injuries, so that hope quickly turned to the dream of getting Victor Wembanyama in the draft. That didn’t pan out either, but we love Ausar Thompson, still think Cade is going to be a star, and that this team is on the precipice of something special. Hope dies slowly in the Motor City.