The Detroit Pistons have achieved infamy.
With a 118-112 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, the Pistons extended their losing streak to 27 straight games. That’s now the longest single-season streak in NBA history, breaking a three-way tie with the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2013-14 Process-era Philadelphia 76ers, which each lost 26 straight.
Up next: The all-time longest losing streak, regardless of season. They’re only a loss away. With the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics up next Thursday, all signs point to the Pistons etching their names further into the lore of losers.
A 28th consecutive loss would tie the Pistons for the longest losing streak of any kind in NBA history. After that, the record would be theirs alone.
Which inspired us to take a look at longest losers in U.S. sports history — the teams whose streaks have stood the test of time alongside wishes for their version of the 2023-24 Pistons to step up … errr, down — and take the mantle. When the Pistons are done, they could very well surpass them all.
Up first: The team the Pistons look poised to replace.
Longest losing streaks in U.S. sports history
NBA: Philadelphia 76ers (2014-15 to 15-16 season), 28 games
The Process-era 76ers are among the greatest losers in the pantheon of sports. General manager Sam Hinkie built his team to lose, and boy, did it get the job done.
As previously noted, the 2013-14 76ers held the record for the longest single-season losing streak in league history until Tuesday night. They lost 26 straight en route to a 19-63 record that wasn’t actually the league’s worst. That honor belonged to the 15-67 Milwaukee Bucks. But it did net the 76ers the biggest prize of the Process when they drafted future MVP Joel Embiid third overall, behind Andrew Wiggins (Cavaliers) and Jabari Parker (Bucks).
Injuries sidelined Embiid for his first two NBA seasons and most of his third, meaning the Process was still in full effect. And from the end of the 2014-15 season through the start of the 2015-16 campaign, the 76ers lost like no others, piling up 28 defeats in a row. Those teams produced 18-64 and 10-72 records, the latter of which is the second worst of all-time. The 1972-73 76ers finished 9-73.
Unfortunately for the 76ers, that streak didn’t produce dividends via the draft. Jahlil Okafor (No. 3 overall, 2015) was a bust. Ultimately, so was Ben Simmons (No. 1…