Bill Davidson Rumors

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With businessman Dan Gilbert building his empire downtown and the Ilitches moving ahead with their projects in the new arena district, many more people can see something sustainable growing in Detroit. “Back then, we wanted to be a catalyst,” Marantette said. “When others wouldn’t go there, we were going to go there and put a stake in the ground. That’s what Harbortown was.” Davidson was hardly alone in leaving the city; two-thirds of the city’s population, along with many businesses, also skipped out. Nor was Davidson the only suburban sprawler who bad-mouthed Detroit — Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson comes to mind with his often inflammatory remarks belittling the city.
Storyline: New Pistons Arena
In 1991, I sat down with billionaire businessman Bill Davidson and asked him why he moved his Pistons out of Detroit a few years earlier. Davidson, otherwise amiable, shocked me with his bluntness and severity. “To me it was crystal clear what was going to happen to the city of Detroit,” Davidson said. “People may not like it, but I didn’t cause it to happen. Twenty years ago, I could have told you what the city of Detroit would be like today, knowing what was there. We didn’t move out of anything that had anything positive going for it.”
Davidson rarely made demands. He gave constructive criticism. He simply wanted to know what was going on. And seeing the owner just about every day energized the staff. When Davidson died, some of the brain trust that made the Pistons the talk of the sports marketing world began to leave, including many to rival Mike Ilitch and Olympia Entertainment. Ilitch still remains as a potential buyer of the team. “When Mr. Davidson died, it put so many things out of place at The Palace,” former Pistons coach Ray Scott said. “People began to leave that made the organization. Much of that brain power was lost. That staff was lost. Now you have Joe sitting there, who wants to pull some deals, who cannot until the pending sale is complete.”