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The love affair between Andre Drummond and Detroit might be coming to an end

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The best of Andre Drummond's final season in Detroit (1:19)

Andre Drummond was a force for the Pistons, posting rim-rattling jams and emphatic denials at the rim. (1:19)

DETROIT -- "7 Mile Dre" was born on Oct. 25, 2017.

Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond had just recorded a 15-rebound night in a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves that put him over 5,000 boards for his career -- the second-youngest to ever reach the milestone -- and he was feeling good.

So he broke out a pair of "Buffs," white buffalo horn-framed Cartier sunglasses, much to the delight of his teammates.

"You see the Yays, huh? Buffs ... Detroit style," Drummond yelled across the room to then-teammate Tobias Harris.

"You about to shoot a music video," Harris jokingly responded to Drummond's flashy postgame look, which inspired then-Michigan Chronicle reporter Branden Hunter to give Drummond his new nickname.

"7 Mile is the most famous street in Detroit so everybody is from 7 Mile. You can say, 'I'm from 7 Mile,'" said Hunter, now with the Detroit Free Press. "It's just kind of the first thing that popped in my head, the most famous street in Detroit and everybody knows what it is, so I put the Dre on the end and there you go."

The $2,995 sunglasses that inspired the nickname have become a famous style in Detroit and one of the company's most sought-after pieces. The white version Drummond wore isn't even sold online; it can only be purchased in official Cartier boutiques or via telephone.

"For us, it's just that statement piece," said popular Detroit fashion designer Ty Mopkins. "When you see that, you know that's from Detroit, and when you see these other celebrities and entertainers and athletes wearing them, you know they've been inspired by coming to Detroit."

The video of Drummond wearing the Buffs in the locker room went viral throughout the Pistons fan base and the Detroit community. Fans embraced the nickname and the center who inspired it.

"That's when everything changed for me and everybody really started to notice the respect I showed for Detroit and just the culture," Drummond said. "I felt like one day I wanted to come out and show some love to the city by wearing some glasses that I know means a lot to the city. ... I have a lot of respect and love for Detroit and I love being here."

Detroit has been the only NBA city Drummond has called home. However, that might not be the case for much longer. The Pistons have talked about moving Drummond as the 2020 trade deadline approaches, potentially ending a love affair between an East Coast-raised star and his adopted Midwestern home.


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Drummond talks Pistons, free agency during game of HORSE

Detroit Pistons star Andre Drummond takes on ESPN reporter Eric Woodyard in a game of HORSE and talks about his upcoming free agency and embracing the Pistons' culture.

Prior to 2012, Drummond had never set foot in Detroit and had no idea what to expect once he did.

"It's crazy for me being a kid from the East Coast then to come out to the Midwest to a whole new environment," Drummond said.

Born in Mount Vernon, New York, Drummond had spent most of his childhood in central Connecticut before attending college at UConn, and he was coming into a city that had adopted a "Detroit vs. Everybody" mentality.

In 2012, the year Drummond was drafted, Detroit native Tommey Walker founded the "Detroit vs. Everybody" clothing brand. It took off among city residents, and the Pistons have since collaborated with the company, launching a limited-edition "Deeetroit Pistons vs. Everybody" line, as a nod to team public address announcer John Mason's famous chant.

"Pretty much Detroit vs. Everybody means you can't be lukewarm with us," Walker said. "You're either in or you're out."

Drummond said he took it upon himself to be 100 percent in upon his arrival as a 19-year-old rookie. He made the city his year-round home and became active in the community, working with local special-needs charities and the Boys & Girls Club. He also worked at making inroads in Detroit's rap scene, where he saw a shared cultural experience.

"I'm not afraid to talk to anybody in Detroit, so anybody will tell you, any rapper will tell you, any person who walks by, I talk to anybody," Drummond said. "The rappers are some of the big people I've learned a lot from out here just based on the culture because they've been around it their whole life.

"They came out of the same situation I was in, they didn't really have much and found a way to find success, so it's always good to learn a lot of things from those guys, too."

In 2014, two years into Drummond's career, Detroit rapper Trick Trick labeled the city a "No Fly Zone" for industry outsiders who failed to pay respect to local talent, businesses and culture, going as far as to form a human wall to prevent a Rick Ross concert from happening.

But Trick Trick embraced Drummond with open arms.

Wearing the "Buffs" helped set the center apart from those outsiders. He has since been name-dropped by Detroit hip-hop artists such as FMB DZ, Sada Baby, Peezy, Cash Kidd, Talibando and IceWear Vezzo. In 2018, Drummond dropped his own debut rap EP, premiering it at the Annex Nightclub in downtown Detroit.

It was a year later at a different release party -- this one for new artist Skilla Baby -- where the topic of Drummond came up among Detroit's rappers. With the loud bass lines blasting through the speakers upstairs at Minnie's Rhythm Cafe, a few hundred locals gathered, many of whom were wearing Buffs like the ones that inspired Drummond's nickname, or other popular Cartier styles such as "Woods" or "Wires," also named for their frame style. As smoke filled the air and drinks flowed from behind the bar, Sada Baby had a message for the Pistons big man that he delivered through ESPN.

"Listen, Dre Drummond, you're already the best offensive rebounder in the game, this year I need you to go out there and get that Defensive Player of the Year," he said.

"You've got the capabilities to do it, you're the most athletic center I've seen when it comes to attacking the boards. But I need you to get that DPOY and take us back to the playoffs and get that first playoff win we've had in dang near 10 years."

Drummond might not get the chance to do that. The Pistons are 3.5 games back of the final playoff spot in the East. They've reached the playoffs just twice in his career, and they were swept in the first round both times.

Still, Drummond wants to stay in Detroit and help the Pistons get back to the championship level they've reached three times before. He told ESPN earlier this season that his goal was to be in Detroit "the rest of my career." He reiterated that stance the day after news of trade talks with the Atlanta Hawks broke.

"I'm not a quitter, for one," Drummond said earlier this month.

"I was never brought up to be a quitter. If I start somewhere, I try to finish there, try to complete the mission, which is to win a championship here. It will never be me that wants to go anywhere. ... I love being here."

Even if he doesn't spend the rest of his career with the Pistons, he'll always have a special place in the hearts of Detroit fans.

"He came in here and didn't judge us," Mopkins said. "He knew who we were and he became one of us and that's when the legend of '7 Mile Dre' was born.

"He's top five for sure as somebody who's not from here and has embraced us ... he's top five for sure."