Auburn Hills – It certainly is no accident that the Pistons will debut their limited-edition Nike City Edition uniform on Black Friday.
It’s more like a stroke of marketing genius.
When the Pistons take the court against the Houston Rockets, they will be wearing black and silver, like Oakland Raiders black and silver.
“This is the City Edition, and you have an opportunity each year to do something different,” said Charlie Metzger, Pistons executive vice president and chief revenue and marketing officer. “Motor City, you are always going to see that, that is part of our city edition and a nod to our automotive heritage.
“But, what Nike has brought is, every single year, there is going to be a new flavor. And our view is, each time we do one of these flavors, we want to make sure there is a reason why and there is a story behind it.”
The story behind this year’s City Edition recalls a glorious period of Pistons basketball, the Bad Boys Era and its symbiotic relationship with the NFL bad boys of the late 1980s and early 1990s -- Al Davis’ Raiders.
“It goes back to when the Bad Boys used to wear Raiders gear and Al Davis called the Pistons the Raiders of the NBA,” said Jason George, the club’s creative director. “With the automotive aspect, we thought it was a good mix. Something ingrained in this community, in the city itself – the automotive aspect -- and something specific to our franchise.”
Before the Bad Boys won the first of their two championships, it was Davis who gave the Pistons some national credibility.
“I loved everything about the Bad Boys,” he said. “I loved how they played and how they didn’t back down. They just went out and kicked the other teams’ butts.”
Davis also lent the Pistons the Raiders medical staff and facilities to tend to Isiah Thomas’ severely sprained ankle during the 1988 playoffs.
Thus, the Raiders’ inspired City Edition uniforms. Black with silver trim, two silver racing stripes running vertical down the front of the jersey and silver piping on the shorts, with a Detroit Raiders-styled logo on the shorts.
The only other colors besides silver and black are the red, white and blue NBA logo ion the shorts and the red logo of Flagstar Bank, the Pistons’ official jersey partner, on the jersey.
“We already know that some people are going to love them and some people won’t,” Metzger said. “We’re OK with that. We want them to be bold and unique.”
The Pistons will wear the City Edition uniforms 18 times, six times at home and 12 times on the road. And that’s it. The jersey will be taken out of circulation after that.
The City Edition jerseys are available at the Pistons’ online merchandise store, pistonslr.com, and at Little Caesars Arena for $135.
But on Friday, the Pistons are offering a one-day promotion – a three-game ticket plan starting at $199, which includes two tickets to a choice of three Friday games during the second half of the season and a Blake Griffin or Andre Drummond City Edition jersey.