How Detroit Pistons General Manager Troy Weaver introduced players to the story behind Nike City Edition jerseys that pay homage to legendary St. Cecilia Gym
Troy Weaver embraced Detroit.
The Detroit Pistons general manager, who lives in the city, admires the landmarks and cultural touchstones that make Detroit a truly iconic American city.
When he was first hired by Pistons owner Tom Gores in 2020, he wanted to create programming to introduce players to the cultural significance of the city, but COVID restrictions limited those opportunities both first seasons of his tenure at the Pistons.
But this season gave Weaver an opportunity to revisit that goal, and he organized a tour of several notable sites for the players before training camp. Former NBA star and Detroit native Jalen Rose led the tour, which included stops at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy public charter school and the Motown Museum.
The trip also included a visit to the legendary St. Cecilia Basketball Gym on the west side of town. It’s a place where basketball greats like Rose, Dave Bing, Derrick Coleman, Chris Webber and others have played. Nicknamed The Saint, the place has a national reputation alongside other basketball meccas like Rucker Park in New York and Venice Beach in Los Angeles.
The tour also introduced players to the story behind the City Edition shirts which will be worn six times during the season.
Designed in collaboration with Pistons Creative Director of Innovation and hip-hop star Big Sean, whose Detroit childhood inspired much of his music, the uniforms honor Saint Cecilia’s gym. The uniforms are green, match the gym logo and feature United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM), the official Pistons jersey crest and exclusive mortgage partner, prominently on the left front strap of the jersey. The shorts feature a replica of the Saint’s historic stained glass window with sporty white and blue stripes down the side. On the jersey, the quote inscribed on the Saint’s floor – Where stars are made, not born – is on the jersey, along with Big Sean’s signature. A trio of stars on the jersey and shorts also allude to this message, while symbolizing the Pistons’ three NBA championships.
“The jerseys are dope and they have a lot of history behind them,” Pistons center Isaiah Stewart said. “Going back there with Jalen Rose and hearing the stories that happened there, I feel like it’s going to be great for us to wear those shirts and represent the city, represent this place.”
Presentation of Ceciliaville
Sainte-Cécile Catholic Church was founded in 1921, and in 1967 the parish high school closed and was converted into a leisure center known as Ceciliaville.
It was also the year of the Detroit Riot, and the vision behind the center was to create a safe community center in the Russell Woods-Nardin Park neighborhood. Under athletic director Sam Washington Jr., the center attracted thousands of basketball players from southeast Michigan, many of whom went on to become professional basketball players.
He told Grantland that even after making the league, he would still come back to play in the summer pro-ams.
“It didn’t matter what you did that season in the league,” he said. “You still had to prove yourself to the Saint.”
Weaver, who grew up in Baltimore, was drawn to this story and decided it would be a good idea to expose the Pistons to the legendary gymnasium and other historic landmarks.
“I wanted to do it when I got here, but COVID restrictions (prevented it),” Weaver said. “The idea is to hit benchmarks and we will do that every year for new players and new employees by taking them to different benchmarks.
“For the players who got to see St. Cecilia and see the rich tradition there, it was exciting. The players really loved it. It’s part of the community, a big part of the Detroit community.
In addition to the announcement of uniforms, JDS Sports – the proprietary group behind Five-Star Basketball and SLAM – has pledged a $250,000 grant by joining the Detroit Pistons Foundation and the Knight Foundation in Detroit to begin the initial construction and renovation of the gymnasium.
The uniform helps tell the story of the Saint, a story players know by now.
“It was crazy to be able to be in the gym and see where so many basketball stories have gone,” Pistons star Cade Cunningham said. “The way they talk about it is like a proving ground, it’s ground zero, it’s the place to be. By going there, I was able to kiss her. Now that I’ve been there, I feel like I’m a little more Detroit than I was before that.
The City Edition jersey is available for purchase on pistons313shop.com and the Pistons team store at Little Caesars Arena. A portion of jersey sales will be donated to Céciliaville.