The Detroit Pistons' losing streak has gotten so bad that strange things have started to happen.
The Detroit Pistons and the strange culture of losing
I got a call from the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) to do an interview about the streak, not something I would have thought possible before the season began. You can listen to it here (you have to register, sorry), it starts at around the 14:50 mark and my just-getting-over-COVID American accent is quite the juxtaposition against the posh Brits of the BBC. The streak is so epic that the Brits, who barely watch basketball, are taking notice.
There are also the other teams, none of whom want to be "that team" that loses to a team on a 28-game (and counting) losing streak. If the Pistons were just "regular" bad, I have no doubt the Celtics would have just rolled over the other night, but playing a team on a historic losing streak brings out the competitive side like it's game seven of the playoffs.
Rapper Chuck D (who was the first celebrity to follow me) has always had a soft spot for Detroit and recently tweeted about the game seven atmosphere the losing streak has created.
He also called them "America's Team" as fans of other teams have started to rally around the Pistons, partially out of pity, but also because the Pistons have a big presence on social media and other fans are tired of watching us suffer.
The crowds at LCA have been much larger than you would expect, partially because people want to see history and can't look away from a trainwreck.
But people also love underdogs, which the Pistons are in every game, and want to show the young players that they have support even as they continue to lose.
I also think there is a bit of "ironic" attendance going on, as fans want to show Tom Gores that this is our team, not his, and that he is just a caretaker of an organization that has a real connection to the city. It's almost like an "F you" to Gores and of course, the chance to chant "Sell the team!" at him.
National writers have been penning pieces about the Pistons, which never happened when they were just normally crap instead of historically crap.
It's not the way you want to draw attention, but the Pistons have gotten more of it this season than they have in a long time. Some of it is ironic, some of it is just rubbernecking at a car crash, but some of it is fans rallying around a team that needs support.
It's been fascinating to watch and take part in, as I've seen fans who normally hate the Pistons cheering them on and pulling for them to break the streak. The Pistons have turned losing into a cultural phenomenon.