It was not long ago that the Pistons and the NBA were a mere shell of what they are now. Detroit played at Cobo in front of small crowds with star players laboring on aching knees and decaying careers. The money that players received barely made headlines – the same could be said for the actual games on the court. For $7 million William “Bill” Davidson purchased a team that he saw promise in. This sale of a professional basketball franchise to Davidson forever changed our city and the NBA as a whole. Today, our city mourns as another legend has left us.
As the eulogies continue to pour in over the next few days, it will become more and more apparent that Davidson was not your typical owner. Recognized for purchasing Roundball One, a private jet for his players more than two decades ago, the Pistons owner saw a need for players to travel in comfort. When he wanted a grand stadium of his own for the Pistons, Davidson did not ask for higher taxes when he moved his team to a now flourishing Auburn Hills.
His hands-on style was extremely popular, often sitting in the stands when the Pistons played and greeting his players in the locker room following the game. He also recognized the importance of the experience for fans and his vast empire of musical venues will live on for many years to come. In Detroit we take for granted having an owner like Bill Davidson around, we can only hope that future owners take notice.