WAZZUP! Detroit Pistons and Martin Lawrence team up on new clothing line

Detroit Free Press

Wazzup. Wazzup. WAZZUP! “Deeetroit, basketball” is teaming up with “Martiiin Lawrence” on a clothing line collaboration between the Pistons and the comedic star that is set to drop on Friday. .

The Pistons x Martin clothing line is a merchandising mashup between the team and Lawrence, and a continuation of the Pistons “D-UP” brand narrative that focuses on celebrating the people and culture of Detroit, said Tyrel Kirkham, the Pistons’ vice president of brand & marketing strategy. Given the cultural significance of the iconic 1990s “Martin” television show, set in Detroit, along with Lawrence’s lead character’s love of the Pistons, it seemed like an ideal match.

“With Martin being the celebrity figure that he is, and always will be; in addition to him being a diehard Pistons fan on the show; it felt like the perfect marriage for us to collaborate with Martin to bring this awesome merchandise collaboration to life” Kirkham said. “The Pistons x Martin collection will be available exclusively on the pistons313shop.com. It will conveniently drop at 3:13 p.m. just to lean into our area code.”

Will Bradford poses for a portrait wearing a sweater from the limited edition Pistons x Martin Merchandise Line at the Pistons Performance Center on Thursday, May 13, 2021, in Detroit.
Will Bradford poses for a portrait wearing a sweater from the limited edition Pistons x Martin Merchandise Line at the Pistons Performance Center on Thursday, May 13, 2021, in Detroit.
Antranik Tavitian, Detroit Free Press

The Martin show ran for five seasons on Fox from 1992 to 1997, and Detroit’s Garden Court Apartments — now Condominiums — served as the backdrop to the series and home of Lawrence’s character. In another nod, the show was inspired by the professional life of Detroit’s own radio personality and the voice of the Pistons, John Mason, famous for his “Deeetroit, basketball” calls at games.

In the television series, Lawrence played multiple roles, including the main character, the wisecracking talk show personality Martin Payne, who works at the fictional WZUP radio station and opens his shows with his trademark shout-out: “Wazzup. Wazzup. WAZZUP!”

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In addition to Payne, Lawrence also played the sassy, flashy and confrontational female neighbor named Sheneneh, and Jerome, the loudmouth, out-of-date pimp, in addition to other memorable personalities. Famous phrases and photos of each of the characters, in conjunction with symbols of Detroit, will be reflected on the T-shirts, hoodies, baseball caps and sweatshirts in the new clothing line.

Items from the limited edition Pistons x Martin merchandise line at the Pistons Performance Center on May 13, 2021, in Detroit.
Items from the limited edition Pistons x Martin merchandise line at the Pistons Performance Center on May 13, 2021, in Detroit.
Antranik Tavitian, Detroit Free Press

“The clothing will definitely have a ’90’s feel,” said Kirkham. “We wanted to harken back to those memories that the show evoked for us all, and make sure that the ’90’s was felt … while still celebrating our city.”

Friday night’s game also will have a “Martin” theme to it. And the halftime performer, Detroit’s own Sada Baby, is planning to fall right in line with it.

Lawrence may not be in the stands Friday, but he loved to be at the game on his show. In one episode, it’s year 1994 — season 2, episode 23 — when Martin Payne comes stumbling in after climbing eight flights of stairs, just so he can watch the Pistons game from a skybox.

Live shots of actual game footage flashed throughout the scene, and fan soundsare heard in the background. Payne uses binoculars to view the court, pumping his arms with excitement. He even deprives himself of going to the bathroom, just so he wouldn’t miss a moment of the game.

Items from the limited edition Pistons x Martin merchandise line at the Pistons Performance Center on May 13, 2021, in Detroit.
Items from the limited edition Pistons x Martin merchandise line at the Pistons Performance Center on May 13, 2021, in Detroit.
Antranik Tavitian, Detroit Free Press

Kirkham says that the response to the new collab has already been very positive, and just as excited as Lawrence’s character was in that 1994 scene, he expects the same reaction at the actual game after the line drops.

“The fans are excited, the chatter online is off the charts and we’re excited to give people a reason to smile (Friday) night, and continue to give flowers to a legend in the game such as Martin. And to also continue to highlight the city of Detroit.”

Jasmin Barmore is born and raised in the city of Detroit. She covers the city’s neighborhoods and communities using her passion as her drive to give the voiceless a voice. You can reach her at jmbarmore@freepress.com or by sending her a message on Instagram or Twitter at @bjasminmare. 

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