The Detroit Pistons have unveiled a new apparel collaboration inspired by Detroit boxing legend Joe Louis as part of their Black History Month activations. The club collaborated on the new merchandise line’s storytelling, strategy, and design with the Louis family and Mitchell & Ness. Starting February 23, the line will be available through Pistons313Shop.com, and on February 24, it will be available at the team store in Little Caesars Arena.
Tyrel Kirkham, the Pistons’ Vice President of Marketing and Brand Strategy, described the cooperation as a means for Detroiters and sports fans to commemorate a sports hero and legend’s championship heritage.
“Joe Louis’ transcendent career embodies the spirit and history of Detroit,” said Kirkham. “We always view merchandise collaborations as an opportunity to create more than just t-shirts and jerseys – we want them to represent the city that surrounds us and the culture that makes Detroit such a special place. The legacy that Joe Louis carries is something the Pistons organization is honored to share and celebrate.”
Louis and his family relocated to Detroit when he was 12 years old in 1926. Louis’ legendary boxing career began here, rising from amateur to world heavyweight champion. Louis is widely regarded as one of the best boxers of all time, having held the heavyweight title for a record-breaking 12 years. Louis was more than a ring champion; he was a civil rights figure who overcame the racial restrictions that plagued professional sports at the time. The Monument to Joe Louis, commonly known as “The Fist,” was erected in Detroit’s Hart Plaza in 1986 as a symbolic commemoration of Louis’ historical significance.
“My family and I are grateful that the Detroit Pistons and the City of Detroit continue to do their part by remembering and highlighting my father and all those great men and women who came before us in an effort to inspire those currently in the global arena,” said Louis Barrow, II.
Throughout February, the Detroit Pistons celebrated Black History Month with several activations and partnerships. To begin off the month, the Pistons teamed up with the Rosa Parks Estate to honor the civil rights pioneer by offering free bus rides to all Detroit residents on several days, as well as awarding 500 Rosa Parks-inspired coats to DDOT drivers.
Ongoing and upcoming activities include an “HBCU Night” at Little Caesars Arena on February 26 when the Pistons take on the Boston Celtics, a team visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. on February 28, in-game honoring of prominent Detroit creatives and leaders throughout the month, and the 17th Annual Black History Month Scholarship Event, where high school seniors in Detroit will have a chance to win a scholarship.