It’s time to say goodbye to Joe Louis Arena. The Detroit Red Wings play their final game there Sunday against the New Jersey Devils, a day that’s sure to be emotional for everyone involved, from the organization to the players, from the arena workers to the fans. Here at the Free Press, we’re trying to send off “The Joe” the best we can, through a nostalgic look back at the greatest moments, plus a recollection of our favorite memories from a variety of perspectives and more photos than you can handle.
Conceptualized and built in 1987-88, the Palace of Auburn Hills still is one of the best basketball venues in the NBA.Since it was built, another $141.5 million of upgrades have the building looking as vibrant and fan-friendly as the day it opened Aug. 13, 1988, when Sting performed to a packed house.
Since then, the Detroit Pistons and WNBA’s Detroit Shock have won championships in the building. Excited fans packed the joint while the Bad Boys and the Chauncey Billups-led Goin’ to Work teams ruled the Eastern Conference.
In 2009, the Pistons recorded their 259th consecutive sellout at the 22,076-seat facility — from Jan. 19, 2004 to Feb. 4, 2009.
Now it seems that the Pistons will move downtown to share the still-being-built Little Caesars Arena with the Detroit Red Wings. It would be hard to see them leave the Palace, but here’s a look back at some of the great Pistons events there: