Fred Zollner was an industrialist and founder of the Zollner Corporation in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In 1939, he decided to enrich a boring routine of the piston manufacturer and based a basketball club. The man named the team Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons. For seven years, Pistons had been playing in the NBL, where they became champions twice. In 1948, the club joined the BAA that very soon was transformed into the NBA. Despite the popularity of the team in their hometown, the leadership, following the trends of that time, thought about moving to a larger place. Therefore, the team moved to Detroit in 1957. It should be mentioned that the city’s name was very appropriate for the team.
It is worth noting that the capital of the Automobile State already had its basketball clubs, but “hungry” fans who were passionate about spectacles warmly welcomed the settlers, who changed the name to the more patriotic Detroit Pistons.
We can’t help mentioning the merits of the team owner, who was a hot basketball fan. Zolner provided all possible support to the newly formed Association and became one of the initiators who introduced a shot-clock and 6-foul limitation game rules. Also, he was the first owner who acquired a personal airplane for team travel between cities.
The significant contribution of Fred Zollner was appreciated: in 1999, he was introduced to the NBA Hall of Fame, and the trophy of the winners of the Western Conference still bears his name.
Meaning and History
Detroit Pistons Club’s sports career is very long. Moreover, it includes moving, which radically affected the original symbolism. As a result, since 1941, the team has had many logos united by just one element – a basketball. Six emblems are directly connected with it, and the remaining four include it as the basis of the component, accompanied by other details.
1941 – 1947
The program started with the name Fort Wayne Pistons and received the corresponding symbol. This was a humanoid character consisting of automobile pistons: two for each arm and leg, one was in a place of the head, and the largest served as the body. An impromptu basketball player threw the ball up. All logo details were white and red.
1948 – 1957
In 1948, the emblem was redesigned, after which the pistons that make up the basketball player became more realistic – both in drawing and color. Gray “metal” basketball player dribbles. On his chest is a red “Z” – the first letter of the word “Zollner,” which was part of the club’s debut name.
1957 – 1971
After moving the franchise to Detroit, she went through the process of renaming Detroit Pistons. The emblem was also changed – it was simplified to the ball, focusing on the basketball theme and the text. Several inscriptions appeared on the logo: the largest at the top – “DETROIT PISTONS,” the middle in the middle – “BASKETBALL CLUB” and the small print at the bottom – “NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSN.”
1971 – 1975
Another intervention in the structure made the logo visually simpler: the icon depicts only a ball with two inscriptions. The third (lower) designers removed.
1975 – 1979
The management decided to give expressive emblem, which made the contour of the ball thicker. It also abbreviated the phrase “NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSN” to “NBA” and changed the color of the letters to muted orange.
1979 – 1996
In this version, the developers used the principle of the classic round disc, placing one into the other several round elements. In the center is a horizontal oval with the words “DETROIT PISTONS.” Then comes a circle with a thin white stripe, and then a wide blue ring. It covers the entire outside of the logo.
1996 – 2001
To modernize the logo, make it fresher and more attractive, the basketball team redesigned it. In this version, there is a roll call with transport-related topics: the image of a horse (a hint of horsepower in which engine power is measured) and the elongated legs of the letters “S” (stylized as automobile mufflers).
The logo also contains a basketball (in the center), the inscription “PISTONS” (horizontal), and flames (in the horse’s mane). The round background is still circled in a blue fringing ring, and on it is the second part of the sports club’s name – “DETROIT.”
2001 – 2005
In 2001, new colors appeared on the logo. Now, instead of black, yellow, and turquoise, dark blue, red, and cyan have become dominant. Gray remained the same. The shape of the elements has also been preserved.
2005 – 2017
The emblem with the horse’s head wasn’t popular. Both fans and journalists mostly criticized this variant of the Detroit Pistons logo. Moreover, it was called an emblem for car races or racing. As a result, in the 2005/2006 season, the management of the team adopted a new simplified design. The emblem consists of a red basketball, white lettering with shadows, and a circle with a blue border. The palette matches the colors of the US flag. The team name is located in the center and is made in the form of an arc. Moreover, the upper word is small, and the lower one is large.
2017 – present
In 2017, the basketball players decided to return one of the old emblem variants, namely, 1979. In a modern interpretation, it looks like a ball surrounded by a wide light blue ring. In the central oval is the phrase “DETROIT PISTONS,” placed in two lines. Thin white stripes separate all elements. In Michigan, it is believed that this will be a new chapter in club history. This is the eighth renewal of the club’s emblem of the team, founded in 1941.
Font and Color of the Emblem
In the current interpretation, the logo of the 80s looks a little different than its prototype. It has an elongated middle, so the contours of the oval are directly touching the right and left edges of the ball, and the upper and lower parts are sickle-shaped. The edging lines became twice thinner; the colors changed to light. Inscriptions have also evolved. Also, there are chrome circuits, which, according to the developers, are a tribute to the Detroit automakers.
In previous versions, an individual typeface was created specifically for the Detroit Pistons logo. At an early stage, these were white labels with a red outline. Subsequent changes concerned not only color but also shape, style, size. If the chopped font was used first, then miniature serifs appeared later, which is visible on “P” and “D.” In some cases, the letters “S” are graphically highlighted: they look like silencers or now like the number “5”.
If we talk about color, then the American flag’s gamut – the combination of white with red and blue- always prevailed in the logo.