Pistons in Talks With WNBA to Revive Detroit Shock in Future Expansion

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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As the WNBA continues to grow in its current expansion era, the Detroit Pistons are lobbying for the comeback of their beloved, gone-but-not-forgotten sister basketball franchise: The Detroit Shock.

The Pistons have reportedly “been in conversation” with the WNBA to advocate for the return of the Shock in the league’s future expansion plans, according to Crain’s Detroit Business.

“The Detroit Shock enjoyed success and won championships during their run in the 2000s and we celebrated the anniversary of their 2003 championship at a Pistons game last year,” Pistons chief communication officer Kevin Grigg said. “While nothing is imminent, the prospects of bringing a WNBA team back to Detroit is intriguing and we have interest should they open another round of expansion. We will continue to engage in conversation with the WNBA going forward.”

Established in 1998 as one of the WNBA’s first expansion franchises, the Shock reigned in the early 21st century. Under Pistons icon Bill Laimbeer, the Shock won three championships in six years—in 2003, ‘06 and 08–and cemented its dynastic status in the fledgling days of women’s professional basketball. After their heyday, the Shock relocated to Tulsa before putting down roots in Dallas in 2015 to become the Dallas Wings.

Under its current expansion, the WNBA will grow from 12 to 14 teams, adding the Golden State Valkyries in 2025 and a Toronto team that has yet to be named in 2026. During this year’s draft, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert relayed the league’s plans to increase to 16 teams by 2028 and listed a handful of potential expansion cities including Philadelphia, Portland and Denver.

Whether Detroit will also get to throw its hat in the ring remains uncertain, though not wholly impossible given the recent nationwide popularity surge in women’s basketball.

“We’re talking to a lot of different cities,” Engelbert said in April. “I think I’ve thrown out names before. It’s complex because you need an arena and a practice facility and player housing and all the things, you need committed long-term ownership groups. The nice thing is we’re getting a lot of calls.”

Kristen Wong


Kristen Wong is a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. She has been a sports journalist since 2020. Before joining SI, Kristen covered four NFL teams as an associate editor with the FanSided NFL Network and worked as a staff writer for the brand’s flagship site. She has written about soccer, the NFL, NBA, and MLB since 2020, and outside of work, has dreams of running her own sporty dive bar.