What's up with this old dude? He's just chillin' out and watching the teams he owns wrap up championships in the NHL and NBA. He's just cool with it. Doesn't have much to say. They just call him Mr. D. and he doesn't want anyone making a big deal about him. He could be dancing right now, you know, like that Stones' song "Dancing with Mr. D."
Bill Davidson is an 81 year old billionaire (his age will change in the future, but he's 81 as of June, 2004). He made a fortune selling glass in Michigan. He runs a company called Guardian Industries Corporation. He owns the Detroit Pistons, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Detroit Shock of the WNBA (which managed to win their championship last season) and the Detroit Fury of the Arena Football League. He also owns The Palace of Auburn Hills, the arena where the Pistons and Shock play their home games. He built the arena in 1988 with his own money, shrugging off the concept of public financing and then showing no interest in selling naming rights for the stadium. For him, sports is just a hobby and he pays for his own hobby.
While he rarely, if ever, shows any emotion, Bill prefers to sit in courtside and ringside seats when watching his teams. He doesn't hang out in the luxury boxes with his feet up eating caviar and drinking cognac. Although telling people during the playoffs that the runs his teams were on was no big deal, he'd bring a television into his seat when the two teams were playing on the same night so he could watch them both.
Good old Bill has owned the Detroit Pistons since 1974 and this is the third title he's seen them win as owner. It is his first title with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He's also known as one of the most giving rich dudes in America today, having given away $80 million during the 1990s. This included giving $30 million to his alma mater, the University of Michigan, $20 million to a college and research center in Israel, and $2 million to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to help them pay for travel costs.
Bill ran track for the University of Michigan and played football while serving in the United States Navy, and for this he's in the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. He has no interest in being seen as a public figure and is quick to detract attention to those he sees as more deserving, such as the coaches, general managers and players on his teams. He simply owns the teams and avoids getting directly involved, a change of pace in an era of professional sports where owners tend to charge onto the field and tell everyone how it needs to be done.
Some information from Associated Press releases and some stuff scrawled on a wall in a bathroom in Tampa that was frighteningly detailed. Someone was in that stall for a while, dude.