Mad Ants Announce Affiliation with Pistons and Pacers

(Fort Wayne, IN) – Marking another milestone in preparation for their inaugural season, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants are excited to officially announce their NBA affiliates. The National Basketball Association has paired the new Development League team with the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers.

In the affiliation system, NBA teams may assign players in their first two seasons to play for the Mad Ants, effectively bringing some of the world’s best basketball players right here to Fort Wayne. The system also helps to promote those players who have shown special promise in the D-League. In GATOR ADE Call-Ups, which occur throughout the season, the Pistons or Pacers – as well as other NBA teams – can pull up shining stars from the Mad Ants to showcase their talent in the NBA.

The partnership with the Pistons brings Fort Wayne’s historical ties to the NBA full circle. The Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons, named for the local company that produced auto parts, began professional play in the Summit City in 1941. They were among the organizations that first formed the National Basketball Association in 1948, which combined teams from the National Basketball League with the existing Basketball Association of America. The renamed Fort Wayne Pistons reached the NBA Finals in 1955 and again the next season in 1956, each time falling just short of the title. In 1957, Fort Wayne Pistons’ founder Fred Zollner moved his team from Indiana to Michigan, where it became the NBA’s Detroit Pistons.

With this shared history, the Mad Ants are proud to renew Fort Wayne’s ties to the Detroit Pistons. Partnering with this highly successful NBA organization will surely inspire the Mad Ants to uphold the Pistons’ tradition of great basketball. “We are unbelievably pleased and humbled to be affiliated with an organization like the Detroit Pistons,” said Mad Ants President Jeff Potter. "The Pistons have always had a special place in the heart of the Fort Wayne community, and this is more than a mere affiliation. This is a celebration of the history of the NBA and professional basketball in Fort Wayne.”

The Pistons are also enthused about the announcement. "We are pleased to have Ft. Wayne as our NBA Development League affiliate," said Tom Wilson, President of Palace Sports and Entertainment in Detroit. "Even after 50 years there are still significant ties between Ft. Wayne and the Pistons. Our organization is excited to re-kindle our basketball relationship with the city that served as the birthplace of Pistons basketball."

The Mad Ants are also excited to join forces with their neighbors the Indiana Pacers. Located just over a hundred miles down I-69, Indianapolis is only a short drive from Fort Wayne, and this geographical proximity will enable Indiana’s two largest cities to work together to prove just how much Hoosiers love and support the sport of basketball.

Larry Bird, the Indiana Pacers’ President of Basketball Operations, affirmed the advantages of bringing the Mad Ants together with his team. “Having a D-League affiliation in Fort Wayne is a good thing for the Indiana Pacers and the State of Indiana. We think it will be very beneficial for us and Fort Wayne, not only from a basketball standpoint but also for generating fan interest for us and the Mad Ants.”

Mad Ants President Jeff Potter agreed. “We are incredibly honored to be affiliated with this proud organization. We hope to be a vehicle from which young Pacer players can improve and help their franchise win an NBA championship. The partnership between the Mad Ants and Pacers should go a long way to satisfying a basketball crazy fan base.”

For more information on the NBA D-League and the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, see the team’s website at