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The Palace of Auburn Hills, top five NBA arena

We had a bit of discussion here last week about whether the Pistons should consider a new arena in downtown Detroit, and I reiterated my belief that, as cool as playing in the city would be, there is absolutely no justification for leaving the Palace.

NBA writer Curtis Harris, who writes for Hardwood Paroxysm, Pro Hoops History and curates the fantastic @ProHoopsHistory twitter feed, among other ventures, has a great post for Bleacher Report today, ranking all of the NBA facilities based on their historical significance. The Palace came in at No. 5 on his list:

This arena likely doesn’t immediately come to mind for historic NBA stadiums, but it truly is one of the jewels of the league. The Detroit Pistons have won three titles while in residence and Hall of Famers like Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, and Dennis Rodman have played in its confines, while Grant Hill, Chauncey Billups and Ben Wallace brought in more exciting moments.

When your stadium can say that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Edwards battled it out at center in a Finals game, no way are you sinking below the top 5. Also, the shocking upset of the 2004 Pistons upending the favored Lakers was a treat for all to see in the Finals that year.

I’ll spare you the excerpt where Harris mentions one of the biggest recent moments in the arena (hint: it has something to do with an out-of-nowhere performance by Robert Horry in a fairly significant game). The four arenas that rank in ahead of the Palace are The Staples Center, The United Center, Oracle Arena and (obviously) Madison Square Garden.

17 Comments

  • Dec 5, 20129:57 am
    by Crispus

    Reply

    Neat. Nice to see that the Malice didn’t leave a permanent stain on the arena’s legacy.

  • Dec 5, 201210:51 am
    by Butterscotch

    Reply

    Palace used to be the place to be, now the Palace is just an empty shell. It is beautiful, but it needs a team that can win consistantly.  I eel sad when I watch the games on my TV and see all the vacant seats.  Why? Is it the talent? Or is it the distance from the city? Bring the Palalce to the city of Detroit and watch the fans come out.

    • Dec 5, 201211:10 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      You could put the arena anywhere, and if the team is losing, the fans won’t come.

    • Dec 5, 201211:52 am
      by MIKEYDE248

      Reply

      I don’t know if anyone told you, but nobody lives in the city anymore.  Why would moving it there increase the attendance?  The population of Oakland County is more than Detroit and is a lot nicer place to be.

      • Dec 5, 20122:18 pm
        by RationalSportsFan

        Reply

        Auburn Hills is an awful location for a sports arena.  There are very few areas in Metro Detroit from which the palace is a reasonable drive.  Anyone in Detroit or south of Detroit would have a 45+ minute drive to get there.  Anyone significantly east or west of I-75 has no easy freeway access to the arena.
        Auburn Hills may be “nicer” in the sense that it is a safer place to be than Detroit, but Detroit is way nicer in terms of local bars/restaurants and other things to pair with the game.
         

        • Dec 5, 20122:52 pm
          by MIKEYDE248

          Reply

          Auburn Hills may not have a lot of attractions for a full game day experience, but being off of I-75 & M-59, it sure makes it easier to get in and out.  Most of the fans are just going to the game anyway.

          Most of the population is moving north or west of Detroit making it a farther drive for the average fan.  You make it seem like everyone lives in or south of Detroit.

      • Dec 5, 20125:32 pm
        by Butterscotch

        Reply

        No. Really! Where do the Tiger, Lion and Red Wing fans come from?

  • Dec 5, 201210:54 am
    by vic

    Reply

    ONe of the Vince’s wrote today that Gores would consider a move Detroit because he might share it with the Red Wings new facililty for the Red Wings.

     

    • Dec 5, 201211:09 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I don’t understand how that makes sense for Gores. He privately owns the Palace, therefore collects all the revenue from games. If me moved into a shared facility that, according to the reports yesterday, Ilitch would own, he’d have to pay rent as a tenant there. It makes absolutely no economic sense for Gores to consider that.

  • Dec 5, 201211:16 am
    by BILLYunaire

    Reply

    I’d be angry, as a huge Pistons fan living in Auburn Hills, if the team moved its arena to Detroit. I wouldn’t attend any of those games for sure.

    I’m going to be at the Palace for tonight’s game (as I was last game). I’m usually the guy in there screaming out to the opposition and cheering on our guys. It just sucks to be surrounded by a bunch of dead, unmotivated fans. It’d be great to see the real core of the Pistons fan base make it out to the Palace and cheer alongside me. 

    • Dec 5, 201212:05 pm
      by Desolation Row

      Reply

      It’s nice that you live in Auburn Hills but, unless there’s been a major shift in the heliocentric model, that’s a poor argument for keeping the Pistons in Auburn Hills. Sorry to go all Galileo on you. 

      • Dec 5, 20125:35 pm
        by BILLYunaire

        Reply

        So then what is your opinion on the matter? All you did was attack my comment.

        • Dec 6, 201212:33 am
          by Desolation Row

          Reply

          In a vacuum, I’d prefer to see the Pistons in Detroit. Would be so much more fun and less of a trek for those of us who don’t live on the outskirts of the 248. I’d also like to see the city of Detroit’s economy get a boost during the Winter months, especially with the NHL’s problems right now. 

          All things considered though, it’d be a shame to see the Palace go to waste and, although I couldn’t care less about Gores’ wealth, I can’t imagine it’d make any sense for him to move the team after buying the Palace. 

          TL;DR — Detroit would be better in an ideal world… we don’t live in an ideal world. 
           

  • Dec 5, 201211:17 am
    by labatts

    Reply

    “I’ll spare you the excerpt where Harris mentions one of the biggest recent moments in the arena”
     
    Lol.  Thanks for sparing us.

  • Dec 5, 20123:13 pm
    by Travis

    Reply

    I always enjoy reading comments regarding on how a business owner should spend their money, just because they have “boat loads of cash”. There a few good reasons why they are very affluent. They didn’t  squander away money on business transactions and they always made sure that they got a healthy ROI. If I were one of Platinum Equities investors, I would seriously start to doubt Gores’ business acumen. Fans and press reporters advocating for the Pistons moving to D-Town need to take a look at the move from a business/financial prospective, not from a sports fan prospective.

    • Dec 5, 20123:54 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      Exactly. Would the Pistons in a new arena with the Wings as another attraction in the revitalizing of downtown Detroit be really cool? Absolutely. Is there a single financially sound case that could be made for Pistons ownership to do that? Absolutely not. It makes zero sense from any kind of financial perspective.

      • Dec 5, 20125:03 pm
        by Matt

        Reply

        It could have made sense if Ilitch bought the Pistons (and not the Palace). That’s about the only way it would have made sense for the Pistons to move into a Red Wings-owned downtown arena.

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