Travel is a part of everyday NBA life, but traveling across oceans to other continents is not. So Monday night’s trip to London offers a different set of challenges. It would be one thing if the Pistons were headed there to see where the Beatles strolled across Abbey Road or to visit Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guard.
In Pistons parlance, Big Ben forever will refer to the menacing defender who anchored the 2004 NBA title defense won at The Palace of Auburn Hills, not the clock tower at the Palace of Westminster. And the crown jewels? They’re the three NBA championship trophies that adorn The Palace’s trophy cases, not the dazzling baubles housed under heavy security at the Tower of London.
Prince is Tayshaun, not Charles, William or Harry. Knight is Brandon, not Gallahad, Lancelot or Gawain.
The Pistons are off to London. To play a regular-season NBA game. Against the Knicks. If you don’t find that just a little bit staggering, then you surely came into this world after they’d already hoisted the first two NBA championship banners to the rafters out at 6 Championship Drive.
Those titles came at the end of the most remarkable decade the NBA, and perhaps any other domestic professional sports league, has ever known.