When the WNBA was founded following the success of the women’s team at the 1996 Olympics, young female basketball players were able to see their role models on national television living their passions out. Detroit’s team came only a few years later on the scene and the Shock were an oft-forgotten team for most of the public. While the basketball did have some excitement to it, the team’s biggest fans were the least financially influential. Today, those players that served as role models for young ladies, are now part of this area’s forgotten champions.
Speak to a fan of the Michigan Panthers, Detroit Drive or Detroit Vipers and they’ll let you know of a time when their game had a special place in this town. I remember going to Vipers games in the mid-’90s when tickets came with a hat, popcorn and beverage for nothing compared to the higher prices of the rising Red Wings. There was something about watching a local team giving it their best and winning a championship in the process. Shock fans even had the opportunity to witness a whopping three championships in the process.
So what doomed the Shock to Tulsa? It was absolutely a perfect storm that caught Detroit’s WNBA franchise in the middle. There have been persistent rumors lately that the WNBA is in its last moments. Combine that with the local area’s interest in women’s basketball and the interest for the Oklahoma-based ownership group to make good on their promise of a WNBA franchise. I also happen to believe that Bill Davidson’s vacancy at the helm of the Palace Sports franchises will have a considerable impact on local sports teams for many years to come. His presence and leadership really made the Shock a franchise built for winning and sustainability. The Shock will leave a void within our community, even if it was a small one.