How hard is it to like the hometown team? How hard is it to root for the people you should be rooting for anyway?
How much does that change when you have to root for the Pistons?
As I alluded to on Wednesday, there is literally nothing going on in the Detroit sports space other than the 12-22 Pistons. And with me being me, I need something to write about. So I want to like the Pistons. I want to care about them.
I just don’t.
Other than a few hops on the bandwagon during the playoff run, the Pistons and I’s relationship has been “disobedient child and drill-instructor foster mother” at best.
I’ll go to a game, watch and cheer, but there’s no emotional connection, no real worry about wins or losses or how Joe Dumars is running his team. I think that’s a good thing.
It’s been a unorthodox relationship from the very start. Hockey and basketball run during the same season. I know hockey, I grew up in hockey. With Red Wings who won Stanley Cups, I didn’t need to look outside the hockey space much.
Sure, the NBA was there, but I knew the players better for their off the court exploits (like Space Jam) than on the court. Even now, most of the time if I’m tuning in to the Association it’s to a playoff game that has huge implications (Boston vs. Atlanta Game 2, Round 1? No thank you) or to a game that’s within at least 10 points and has less than five minutes left.
The Pistons were there in my younger days too, lingering in their teal uniforms and five dollar upper deck tickets as they withstood losing season after losing season.
They started getting good near middle school and kept winning throughout much of high school. I went along for the playoff ride like everyone else. But I don’t know the ins and outs of the game. I couldn’t tell how the Pistons were winning outside of Chauncey Billups hitting three pointers, Rip Hamilton being pretty good at them too, Ben Wallace playing defense and missing free throws and Tayshaun Prince being really good for that one year.
Somehow I even scored tickets to a game of the 2004 NBA finals and beat away on my thundersticks (then a novelty) like everybody else as the upset pulled closer. I like Chauncey for being named Chauncey and going through the fire with a bunch of different teams for finding his groove. I liked Ben Wallace for being a James Mungro Memorial All-Star before I even knew what a James Mungro Memorial All-Star even was and I liked Darko because everyone else didn’t.
Watching the celebration was fun. Rip Hamilton screaming “YESSIR!” into the mic over and over again when the players were giving speech gave me hours of entertainment.
“Mike can you take out the trash?”
Do I still use it?
After the title festivities, I forgot about the Pistons until they showed up in the Eastern Conference finals again. I didn’t have any lingering feelings when Billups was traded, Wallace retired or Hamilton was waived. When the Pistons signed Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, I thought it was a stupid, but I wasn’t angry.
Now I sit four months away from Tigers Spring Training, in limbo with a hockey season that may or may not happen and the Lions sit there hopeless.
Greg Monroe. Brandon Knight. Rodney Stuckey. Kyle Singler. Charlie Villanueva. Jason Maxiell. Will Bynum. Andre Drummond. Jonas Jerebko. The Man Who Used to Be Corey Maggette. 12-22.
Somebody give me a reason to care.