On Pro Basketball: Detroit and Pistons Are One Again

By the late 1970s, a decade after horrific riots, the Pistons had fallen on hard competitive times, along with the city, and out they went to a charmless football dome in distant Pontiac, Mich., and later to the basketball-specific Palace of Auburn Hills.

A team in a sport played increasingly by young black men fled the city while hockey’s white-as-ice Red Wings stored their gloves and sticks in a downtown arena named for Joe Louis.

Mike Abdenour, the Pistons’ trainer since 1975, except for a three-year run with the Philadelphia 76ers, grew up on Detroit’s East Side, occasionally riding the bus with his brother to Cobo.

“The tickets cost $5,” he said, and that is why, he reasoned, Bill Davidson, the owner who moved the team,…

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