To say it’s been a rough few years for the Detroit Pistons is an understatement.  We have watched them go from perennial Eastern Conference powerhouse and NBA Champions to the butt of jokes in town that could barely get people in the seats at the Palace. And you know what…it hasn’t been easy to watch.

Isiah ThomasAs a fan of this basketball team since Isiah was drafted, I can say it’s taken a toll on me personally.  I learned the NBA game watching the Detroit Pistons. I was just youngster when this team was starting to make their mark in the NBA when Boston and the Lakers dominated the league. I watched with shared heartache as when they came so close but let it slip away.  And when they finally broke through and won their first championship I reveled in the joy of  it all.

The road took this team on an incredible journey that very few franchises get to experience. The driver behind the trip was a great man named Bill Davidson that left his mark on the sports world by taking team ownership in sports to another level and built the foundation to the way they things are run today.  He trusted the right people, let them do their jobs and gave them the leeway to build winning teams.  And for that we will all remember him for what he did. His legacy will be one not forgotten, but it’s what happened after him that most of us would like to forget.

I am a fan of this team first and foremost.  Personnel, players and coaches change, but the Detroit Pistons will always be where the love is.  I never meant to invest a good part of my time and my life to this team, it just happened.  I’ve spent more money on tickets than I care to remember on and even more time watching, writing and losing sleep over the years.  And I wouldn’t trade if for the world.  Except a few blunders in the playoffs, an inbound pass that was picked off and a very memorable incident leaving of a certain 3-point shooter open.

Despite all the bad in past seven or so seasons, I’ve never wavered.  It hurt, but I kept on watching, reading and investing my time just like I had been for years. It was even more difficult for me as people around me (knowing that I do this little Need4Sheed thing) mocked the team, laughed at me and told me to run for the hills until better days and better games.

Detroit Pistons All Stars 2007

I didn’t.

The one thing I did do however is spoke the truth about what was going on with Detroit Basketball.  I love this team, but I’m not homer when it comes to putting blinders on when things go wrong.  I’m not an employee of the franchise and I don’t have to tow the company line. Things were awful.

Joe Dumars kept the band together while teams around him in the division got stronger.  When he finally made a move he essentially traded away the heart and soul for an aging superstar that would relieve the cap while causing issues the entire season on and off the court.  He brought in coaches that didn’t work, made horrible free agent signings, questionable and draft picks.  He even has player mutiny during his tenure.  I mean, did you ever think that the Rip Hamilton situation would end that way?  You can’t blame it all on Dumars as he tried to do what he could while the team was up for sale, but he could have done better.

It was one revolting development after another.  Just when you thought things would get better, they didn’t.  I love the team, but I never defended what was going on.

Are the tides changing for the better? It  sure looks that way.  The summer has brought big changes to this team, some that I’m excited about, some that I’m not.  Will they make a difference, I think so. New coach, new players, new enthusiasm means something to a franchise that is starving for the glory of season past. There hasn’t been this much talent on this team in a long time.

So this Pistons fan fells good today.  This is the first year in quite some time that I am overly excited to head off to the Palace on Wednesday night and watch my team open the 2013-2014 season. I am hoping for a year in which I won’t be mocked for still being a fan.  A year that It won’t be so easy to get tickets to the Palace on a night other than a Heat game.  A year that I will be happy standing in long lines to get popcorn.  A year that I will be happy writing recaps of games and putting a W by the schedule.  A year of promise.

Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond

This is my team.

I’m still here.

Share →

17 Responses to Dear Detroit Pistons, I may not have defended you, but I never left you.

  1. Ali bazzi says:

    I couldn’t agree more with what you said. I never left. I couldn’t leave. A team that I grew up watching and idolizing (04-08), I bleed red white and blue. It’s been a tough 5 years but I’m thankful that brighter days are ahead. Fans left, seats emptied but that just showed who the real fans are. Here’s to a great season and hopefully we get to taste playoff basketball again.

  2. Travis C says:

    I here ya!! I have been a ticket holder for years. And i live in Kalamazoo. Get get much more loyal than that

  3. Rashid Umar says:

    I agree, word for word. I also feel the exact same way. Well done, Natalie.

  4. I knew I wasn’t the only one!

  5. Markov7 says:

    hear hear!!!!

  6. Darlene says:

    I so agree with you—but I’m sure you knew that. I’m heading to Michigan now and actually have several friends which I am treating to tickets. Don’t laugh but I actually purchased a Half Season ticket LAN this year. The games I can’t make – I’ll give to someone. When I’m back in PA I’ll be watching and very glad and proud to see the Palace loud and full again! I think your dedication to the Pistons will be rewarded this season. Looking forward to reading your posts and seeing you at the games!

  7. Venice says:

    Ive been a fan of Detroit Pistons as long as I can remember .I still remember those hard nosed defense that we gave to the league. This past few years has been a nightmare for all of us. But, I stayed. Even though all my friends keep only laughing at me for being a Piston fan, I paid no heed. This past few years has been a trial for all of us to continue supporting our team. Now is the first time in like forever to have excitement again in the palace.

    Go Demolish the opponents!

    DEEEEETTTTTRRRRROOOOIIITTT BASSKKKEEEETTTTBAAAALLLL!

  8. ryan says:

    Never left the team too!

  9. edt says:

    and a the helm in red blue and white the 6 3 chauncey buh buh buh buh billups! thank goodness we got the wiz as our first opponent, sure do want a win as our season opener.

  10. Mikey says:

    First off Natalie you are awesome! we are all with you… I live in Dubuque Iowa and have been a die hard piston fan for as long as i can remember.. It Definitely hasn’t been a easy road of late, hell we used to be a lock to at least make it to the conference finals every year and then hard times hit and the rebuilding started and i never once stopped loving this team, i watch every game i can every year regardless if we win 20 games or 50.. if i lived in Detroit there is no way i would miss one game at the palace! Just stay true to you Natalie and don’t worry about what anyone says! i LOVE this site and everything you do so on behalf of everyone who loves the pistons thank you! and lets have a great year!

  11. edt says:

    also I know some people hate the band wagon asses that only cheer for the team when they are winning . . . but I don’t care. I want the detroit piston bandwagon to come back. I know, we are the tried and true thick and thin fans. But it is so empty at the palace without those fair weather fans. Bring them back, I want the palace to rock with something other than the loudspeakers.

  12. Marcell says:

    Had fun so far since moving back from Florida. There were many times I went to see the Pistons in Orlando when they were a great team and the Pistons fans out numbered the Orlando fans

  13. dp says:

    My body is in Israel but tonight my heart is in DETROIT.
    GOD BLESS THE PISTONS!!!

  14. C-Quense says:

    Still here!!!

  15. Cindy says:

    Glad to hear you’re still here with us, Natalie. You’ve been pretty quiet and I was worried you weren’t as excited as I am for this year. This is their time! It’s been rough and ugly for a while. We come up from Toledo and even bought a 10- game package this year. On our way now and CANNOT wait for this game. I think Chauncey will tear up at the ovation he is going to get- as the last one introduced! Bad Boys II Baby!

Leave a SHEEDtastic Comment