The Detroit Pistons celebrated their first National Basketball Assn. championship Thursday, first at a downtown parade that drew an estimated 125,000 people, then at a foot-stomping rally attended by more than 12,000 fans in their suburban arena. "Downtown was like something I've never seen before," said Herb Tyner, one of the team's owners. "The little kids just beamed. We may never see anything like that again."
At Auburn Hills, the lower bowl of the 21,454-seat Palace was almost half full an hour before the rally began as fans watched a replay of Game 4 on the giant scoreboard, the game in which the Pistons clinched the title by beating the Lakers.
After the fans chanted "MVP! MVP!" when guard Joe Dumars arrived on stage, each of the 12 Pistons spoke. Some, like Dennis Rodman, were choked with emotion and found the words hard to come by. As Rodman groped for words, Thomas stepped forward and gave him a big hug.
Rick Mahorn went around the stage and planted a kiss on the cheek of every teammate. Less than an hour after the rally ended, however, Mahorn learned that he was taken by Minnesota in the expansion draft.