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The Palace of Auburn Hills, a beloved sporting venue with nearly three decades of history, was turned into rubble in a matter of seconds on Saturday morning outside Detroit.
The Palace served as the home to six professional basketball championships consisting of three each for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons and the WNBA’s Detroit Shock. It was in use for nearly 30 years, opening in 1988 and experiencing its final act in late 2017. The arena held 22,000 fans for basketball and 23,000 for concerts and shows.
Implosion brings down The Palace
Only the shell and the roof remained until Saturday, when at 8 a.m. an implosion created by 800 pounds of explosives brought them down to the ground in a matter of seconds.
The Detroit News recorded the implosion from three different angles. There were cheers from hundreds of spectators lined around nearby businesses. Stephanie Carroll, the manager of business development and community relations for Auburn Hills, said crews will spend several months cleaning the debris and filling the hole in the ground.
Schostak Brothers & Co. bought part of the Palace in a joint venture with Pistons owner Tom Gores. There are plans to turn the space into offices for research and technology.
‘Bad Boys’ history, championships
The Pistons played at the arena from 1988 until 2017, winning all three of their titles there in 1989, 1990 and 2004. It was the “Bad Boys” who won the back-to-back titles, beating Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals both seasons. Those series were revisited in “The Last Dance” documentary that aired in April.
The team changed venues in 2017, moving to downtown Detroit and playing in Little Caesars Arena. The Palace was in the suburbs 30 miles northwest of the city. Its final performance was a concert by Bob Seger in September 2017.
Shock won 3 WNBA titles
The WNBA’s Detroit Shock also won three titles in the arena in 2003, 2006 and 2008. Four-time All-Star Swin Cash, now the vice president of basketball operations/team development with the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, starred on the first two title teams.
The franchise was purchased and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, after 2009. The Tulsa Shock were in town for five years before moving to Arlington, Texas, to become the Dallas Wings before the 2016 season.
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