Pistons take fans with them to London
by Vince Ellis, USA TODAY Sports
Michael Colburn read his e-mail a few days after Christmas and at first couldn’t believe his eyes.
A message from Palace Sports & Entertainment told him he was headed to London.
At first he thought it was a joke. But he remembered seeing the promotion in the Detroit Free Press a few days before Christmas. He joined one of the Detroit Pistons fan clubs to be registered in the contest, but he had forgotten about it during the busy holiday season.
So the 57-year-old resident of Clinton Township, Mich., who has been a Pistons fan since the Cobo Arena days, called the number and discovered it was no joke. He is headed to London to watch the Pistons face the New York Knicks on Thursday.
The trip was a great holiday treat for Colburn, who was in the United Kingdom in April and seven years ago spent his honeymoon overseas. He also has roots there with both parents from east London.
“To be able to go back to London and see them play against the Knicks and be a part of that is a thrill anyway, but the chance to do it as a part of a contest winner makes it better,” Colburn said by phone Friday. “It could have been anywhere, but to be London makes it that much sweeter.”
Six other winners — along with a traveling party estimated at 180 — are scheduled to board a charter plane Monday evening. When the event was scheduled in the summer, there was talk that the Pistons would leave right after Saturday night’s home game against the Jazz, but since the Knicks play today, the schedule was altered to allow both teams a similar amount of time overseas.
The Pistons will arrive Tuesday and practice that day.
There will be a public practice at the game site — the O2 Arena — Wednesday with an NBA charity event following. Afterward, the Knicks get their chance in front of the fans.
The game Thursday at 3 p.m. ET (8 p.m. in London) will be televised live on NBATV.
The Knicks represent the top media market in the world, boast one of … [For more on Pistons take fans with them for London game vs. Knicks, click here.]