“The Pistons went on a winning streak and I wore it through the winning streak, and then they lost,” said Bryan, who continued to wear jerseys long after the 2006 season … and the playoffs … and the off-season… and into this season.
As best the 11-year-old from Wixom can recall, Sunday was his 390th consecutive day in a Pistons jersey. His brother, Eric, 9, has worn his for only 370 days. The brothers were honorary captains for Sunday’s game against Philadelphia and beforehand went behind the scenes of The Palace with their parents, Glenn and Terri.
“I wasn’t thinking it was going to be a streak or anything,” said Bryan, a sixth grader at Sarah Banks Middle School.
“It started based on the Pistons continuing to play and win and (the boys) were excited about it, and it just kind of continued on,” said Glenn, an attorney. “So we just allowed it. We don’t push it, we just allow them to do it.”
The brothers’ daily tribute has grown a following at their respective schools, where the teachers and students always know how to start a conversation with the Matecuns. “They’re always asking me how many days I’ve been wearing Pistons jerseys and they’re excited about me wearing it a lot,” said Eric, a fourth grader at Wixom Elementary.
It was teachers and other friends in the community that persuaded Terri to contact Pistons President and CEO Tom Wilson about the boys’ unusual homage to his team.
“Everybody kept telling me, ‘You should write Tom Wilson,’” Terri said. “I thought, ‘You know what, they’re not doing it for attention, they really weren’t. In fact, I think they’re a little uncomfortable with all this right now. I thought I’d never hear back, and then he actually called our house. Tom Wilson called our house - oh my gosh!”
Ryan Pretzer (Pistons Photo)
Before you picture Charlie Brown’s friend Pigpen in a Pistons jersey, they’re not wearing the same jersey every day. Bryan has seven - “I like the Chauncey one a lot and I like home ones more than the away ones,” he said - while Eric has four or five. They each used to have one more, but “retired” their No. 3 jerseys when Ben Wallace signed with the Bulls. “Yeah, I dug it under my closet,” Eric said.
The job of keeping the jerseys clean and in ready supply has fallen to Terri, a stay-at-home mom. “At first I was hand washing them and now I just found out that gentle washing them in the washer would work, and they’re hung dry,” she said.
So how long will the streak last?
“I’ll keep wearing them until … I don’t know,” Eric said.
The family has a wedding in October that will require more formal attire - “They’ll probably wear it in the morning and then change,” Terri said - but the boys’ 14-year-old sister, Sara, hopes it doesn’t come to that.
“It’s totally their decision (when it ends),” said Terri. “I know my daughter is very fashion conscious. I know she would like it to end.”
The boys have dressed creatively to get around some tricky situations before. Terri said the boys have worn the jerseys over their pajamas when they get a cold and stay in bed (they usually don’t sleep in them). For Halloween, Bryan dressed as a Pistons fan, while Eric wore one under his grim reaper costume.
Bryan doesn’t have a Chris Webber jersey yet, but he does have a June birthday, so there’s a good chance he could have one in time for a potential Pistons appearance in the NBA Finals.
“It’s been pretty simple buying Christmas gifts and school clothes,” Glenn said. “They’re easy.”