The Detroit Pistons have purchased a developmental league team that will play in Detroit and announced a new neighborhood basketball program for the city.
The Pistons have acquired the Northern Arizona Suns of the NBA’s G League from the Phoenix Suns for an undisclosed amount. The rebranded team will play at the new arena being constructed on the campus of Wayne State University in Detroit beginning in the 2021-22 season.
“I’m sure the fans in Detroit will welcome the team with open arms and I look forward to watching NBA G League basketball at Wayne State for seasons to come,” says Shareef Abdur-Rahim, president of the NBA G League.
Pistons owner Tom Gores says the NBA G League will be good for the Pistons organization and the community.
“This is another important investment in our franchise and in the city of Detroit,” says Gores. “Having an NBA G League team near our new performance center will be an advantage for our front office, our coaching staff, and our young players. It will also generate more economic activity in the area and serve as a catalyst for additional development.”
The Pistons’ current affiliation with the Grand Rapids Drive and the Suns’ arrangement with the Northern Arizona team will continue through the 2020-21 NBA G League season.
In addition to playing games on the Wayne State campus, the organization says it will work with school administrators to create programs and internship opportunities for students in fields like sports marketing, community relations, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and sports and entertainment business operations.
The Detroit NBA franchise also announced it was starting an eight-week Pistons Neighborhood Program at five Detroit parks, July 30-Sept. 23.
The program is being funded by the Pistons, the William Davidson Foundation, and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. It is free for children and families at Adams Butzel Recreation Complex, Clark Park, Palmer Park, Pingree Park, and Jayne Field/Lasky Recreation Center in Detroit.
The placemaking and urban planning consulting firm Biederman Redevelopment Ventures is overseeing programming in all five parks and will work alongside other local Detroit organizers to execute community engagement efforts, steward programming, and implement necessary COVID-19 safety protocols.
“Our parks initiative continues to expand and adapt, delivering important benefits for the community at a time when kids and Detroiters of all ages need opportunities to stay active in a safe and responsible way,” says Gores. “I’ve always believed that a sports franchise is a community asset with the power to unite and inspire people. I’m proud to see new partners coming together to maximize the impact of this program.”
The program is available Wednesday through Sunday and includes daily drop-in activities such as basketball skills, sports training, live music, dance, yoga, and art. The park activity areas will be staffed by those trained in COVID-19 safety protocols that follow CDC guidelines. The program also will provide free PPE including masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer to participants at each park. The Detroit Police Department also is a partner on this initiative and will have presence throughout program.
For more information and to participate and sign up for programming and activities, visit here or just show up at one of the participating parks.