Meet the Pistons fan who saw Detroit play in every NBA arena on the road – The Athletic

SACRAMENTO — The story Kory Nicholoff’s father told him as a child inspired him to one day begin his own quest for sports fandom.

As a youngster, Nicholoff, of Lansing, Michigan, heard about when his father was in Philadelphia in 1980, at the same time Earvin “Magic” Johnson, a Lansing native and Michigan State legend, was a rookie helping the Lakers reach the NBA. Finals. A friend of Nicholoff’s father had an extra ticket to the potentially decisive game in Game 6 of the series, the one where Johnson replaced an injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at center. Johnson, a daytime point guard, put on one of the most iconic performances in NBA history that night, scoring 42 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and providing seven assists to help Los Angeles win the championship. against the 76ers.

Nicholoff, even as a young child, was always impressed that his father got to witness this performance by Johnson, a local legend who walked the same streets and shopped at the same grocery stores as his family. This inspired Nicholoff to one day have a story to tell.

“I decided I wanted to see my guys play on the road,” Nicholoff told The Athletic.

His “guys” are the Detroit Pistons, a franchise the 35-year-old fell in love with in the 1990s when Grant Hill was drafted to Motor City and quickly became one of the best and most popular players in the game. Nicholoff has always supported the home team, but it was Hill’s presence that turned him into a die-hard fan.

Since getting older and earning real paychecks, not just a weekly allowance, Nicholoff has become a season ticket holder for the Pistons.

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