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.