The Detroit Pistons moved into a new arena back in 2017, leaving the suburbs and The Palace of Auburn Hills behind for Little Caesars Arena, a sparkling new home in downtown. Now, three years later, one of the most well-known basketball venues is no more.
Early on Saturday morning, The Palace of Auburn Hills — or what was left of it, anyway — was imploded in a matter of seconds. Much of the arena had already been gutted, but the remaining structure was blown to pieces using 800 pound of explosives.
The arena opened in 1988, and the Pistons brought immediate success. With Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman leading the way, the Bad Boys — who we heard so much about during ‘The Last Dance’ — won two straight NBA titles in the arena’s first two years of existence. Later on, the Palace was home to the Pistons’ run of dominance in the early 2000s, when they went to six straight Eastern Conference finals, two Finals and won their third title in 2004.
And the Pistons weren’t the only team bringing championships to The Palace. The WNBA’s Detroit Shock — led by head coach Bill Laimbeer, who was a key member of those Bad Boy Pistons teams — won three titles in 2003, 2006 and 2008. Now in Dallas after a brief stop in Tulsa, the franchise has had little success since leaving Detroit behind.
Along with plenty of success, the arena was coincidentally also home to two of the worst nights in NBA and WNBA history: The Malice at the Palace and the on-court brawl between the Shock and Los Angeles Sparks.
Between all of the basketball, both good and bad, and the legendary musical performances, there was a ton of history in that building. But, like so many before it, its time had come.