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Derrick Coleman made $87 million, now files bankruptcy

Apr 10, 2010, 9:40 PM EDT

This is not the story you think it is. This is not some guy who made more than $100 million and gambled it all away in casinos, then tried to make a desperate comeback to make a little money.

Not every NBA story is about hedonism. Some, no many, players try to do the right thing.

Derrick Coleman — the former number one overall pick, the 1991 rookie of the year who never quite reached his potential — was investing the $87 million he made playing basketball in development deals in Detroit, trying to turn around a city in need of someone willing to make big moves there. But no city has been hit harder by the economic downturn than Detroit.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Coleman has filed for bankruptcy (via Ball Don’t Lie).

Coleman’s desire to invest in the Detroit area after his playing career ended contributed to his financial problems, Coleman’s bankruptcy attorney Mark B. Berke said Friday.

Among Coleman’s ventures is a struggling Detroit development called Coleman’s Corner, an attempt to revive one of the city’s most downtrodden neighborhoods. Coleman defaulted on loans related to the mall last year.

“Mr. Coleman was focused on investing in various communities throughout the city of Detroit by developing real estate, creating jobs and revitalizing business opportunities,” Berke said. “Due to the state of the economy, including the decline in the real estate market, Mr. Coleman’s investments could not be sustained.”

Coleman, best remembered as a Net, has an NBA pension, which means he can live pretty comfortably for the rest of his life.

  1. Mark - Apr 10, 2010 at 11:53 PM

    Coleman is a star off the court. He is a man willing to take risks to benefit others at the sake of his own finacial security. I wish him well.

  2. James - Apr 11, 2010 at 12:07 AM

    that is awesome that he tried. God bless him

  3. Veronica - Apr 11, 2010 at 12:10 AM

    A rarity to find an athlete that cares less about money and more about life…

  4. randy - Apr 11, 2010 at 12:23 AM

    I hope things turn around for him…

  5. Rick Motown - Apr 11, 2010 at 12:24 AM

    Sad! Hope his pension really does take care of him. This Guy was a bad boy at one time, too. And I do not mean an 88 Pistons Bad Boy either.

  6. Joey - Apr 11, 2010 at 12:42 AM

    Nice to see that he had good intentions for his money
    but he couldn’t put away some back up money? why invest all of it?

  7. Ernesto - Apr 11, 2010 at 12:47 AM

    God takes care of people like Derrick, he will prosper again someday. He is rich with friends and supporters. Good man Charlie Brown!

  8. mike - Apr 11, 2010 at 12:50 AM

    saw the headline and thought this was gonna be another one of those pathetic Antoine Walker stories about an NBAer who pissed it all away on casinos, cars, jewelry and the like.
    It was not. At least DC did it trying to good for his neighborhood. Sorry it didn’t work out, but his intentions were noble. Thanks for trying, DC.

  9. ray ray - Apr 11, 2010 at 12:56 AM

    The point of bankruptcy is to allow him to address his insolvency. Bankruptcy does not mean he’s completely broke. I’m sure he did not “invest all” of his money.

  10. Nacho - Apr 11, 2010 at 1:10 AM

    Whoop dee freaking do

  11. Jason - Apr 11, 2010 at 1:14 AM

    Invested in Detroit?
    I think that redefines pissing in the wind. It had nothing to do with the economic downturn. That city has been slowly bleeding for 30 years. His $87 million was a drop in an ocean. There is no reason to invest in that city. His money would have been better spent paying the relocation costs of people OUT of that city.

  12. Brenda - Apr 11, 2010 at 1:17 AM

    …beside you.

  13. BadMove Dude - Apr 11, 2010 at 1:32 AM

    Biggest mistake! You don’t invest your all into a huge ghetto county. He’s older now and cannot play ball to ever work his way back to the top. Where are his so called supporters that had their hands out? Detroit is finished for at least the next 50 years. I wouldn’t invest a dime into that crime infested area. Let this be a lesson to those who might think about helping similar areas like Philly, Pittsburgh, Chicago. Your heart might be in the right place, but this is the end result…bankruptcy.
    Sorry for the guy. He lost all of his hardwork. He would have been rich in friends regardless. It doesn’t take giving away all that you have worked for to have good friends and supporters. Yes, help out some but never give your all.
    I would take what’s left of my pension and get away from the beggars of Detroit that nearly destroy this man.

  14. oregonian - Apr 11, 2010 at 1:35 AM

    I wish the good people of Detroit well.

  15. WD - Apr 11, 2010 at 1:36 AM

    SD, here’s a suggestion if you don’t want people to know that you are an ignorant racist who thinks life gave you the shaft and lashes out at others to make yourself feel good.
    Disconnect the keyboard from your computer, that way you can bang out your frustrations on the keyboard and no one will read the stupidity you type.
    Trying and failing in this economic environment doesn’t mean he’s stupid. There were plenty of MBAs, Cum Laude graduates, and financial “geniuses” working at all the banks and other companies that failed or got bailed out.
    We constantly condemn sports stars and celebrities for being poor role models, fairness requires that we acknowledge the positive efforts just as strongly.

  16. Hellscream - Apr 11, 2010 at 1:39 AM

    It’s funny how you always hear people saying things like “how come big-time superstars never give back to the community etc..” ,but when they do you get !@#holes like steve desmond flapping it’s gums. Did he and AI do something to you personally? Probably not…so that begs the question, what does how they play (played) the game have anything to do with you? Nothing….. you malcontent dip&*$# so STFU and continue being a non value added member of society.

  17. flashash - Apr 11, 2010 at 1:44 AM

    Are you all kidding me? He did this to make more money. He didn’t do this for some alltruistic piece of good faith, he did it to make money. Are you all this blind? Detroit has been dying for years, who told him it would be a great place to put money in to? Has no one noticed that the Big 3 have been dying on the vine for years?
    For all of those who invoked God into this conversation, keep this in mind. Some bank president or loan officer is going to get fired because of this.

  18. Anonymous - Apr 11, 2010 at 2:02 AM

    Maybe someone who read your comments is hoping that it happens to you too, pal.

  19. Horrible Investment Choice - Apr 11, 2010 at 2:05 AM

    Detroit was once a booming city but the UAW blew it up with mega union benefits. As the union grew the auto industry slowly faded. When the auto industry left so did the economy. Don’t get me wrong… I want everyone to make as much money as they can but when times got tough economically the UAW didn’t budge and thus the downfall of the auto industry.
    Unfortunately Detroit’s history has not been a learning lesson as California, Nevada, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania seem to be following in Michigan’s footsteps. High unemployment due to high taxes because of massive entitlements. Tax the rich doesn’t work because the rich just move out of state. Ever wonder why Texas (a state with no income tax) is booming with record surpluses and job creation? Texas taxes very little and this promotes small business growth, investing and confidence in the local markets.
    Unfortunately Derrick Coleman picked the second worse possible city to invest in with the first being New Orleans (Katrina). You should try looking at real estate in Detroit. You can buy homes for $5K because the property taxes are more than what the house is worth. Again high taxes = bad idea.
    I hate to get political on a sports blog but we are seeing more and more of this everyday as we become more dependent on the government and less on ourselves.

  20. pastorized - Apr 11, 2010 at 2:05 AM

    Steve Desmond,
    You seem to be the jerk. Here’s hoping that someday Derrick will be your boss.

  21. Bad Investment Choice - Apr 11, 2010 at 2:07 AM

    Detroit was once a booming city but the UAW blew it up with mega union benefits. As the union grew the auto industry slowly faded. When the auto industry left so did the economy. Don’t get me wrong… I want everyone to make as much money as they can but when times got tough economically the UAW didn’t budge and thus the downfall of the auto industry.
    Unfortunately Detroit’s history has not been a learning lesson as California, Nevada, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania seem to be following in Michigan’s footsteps. High unemployment due to high taxes because of massive entitlements. Tax the rich doesn’t work because the rich just move out of state. Ever wonder why Texas (a state with no income tax) is booming with record surpluses and job creation? Texas taxes very little and this promotes small business growth, investing and confidence in the local markets.
    Unfortunately Derrick Coleman picked the second worse possible city to invest in with the first being New Orleans (Katrina). You should try looking at real estate in Detroit. You can buy homes for $5K because the property taxes are more than what the house is worth. Again high taxes = bad idea.
    I hate to get political on a sports blog but we are seeing more and more of this everyday as we become more dependent on the government and less on ourselves.

  22. LonesomeCrow - Apr 11, 2010 at 2:08 AM

    He’s black. Therefore, anyone who is critical of him is automatically deemed a “racist” by people like you who wait like a vulture for any hint of supposed “racism.” How about you unplug YOUR keyboard because the rest of us don’t need to be slandered for having an opinion you pathetic race-baiter. We’re already slandered enough if we happen to disagree with the current president. Race, race, race. That’s all you know.

  23. heals66 - Apr 11, 2010 at 2:23 AM

    S. Desmond ~ You my man are an ignoramus. Look it up in the dictionary. Go teabaggin’ much?

  24. RighteousThug - Apr 11, 2010 at 2:23 AM

    No matter where they live now.

  25. Matt - Apr 11, 2010 at 2:42 AM

    Here we see a classic example of how following the heart instead of brain gets people into trouble. Investing money in inner city Detroit is the feel good thing to do. It’s also the stupidest thing somebody could have done with their money. He would have been better off investing in oil and then giving the dividend profits to the people in detroit. The spend money where the heart tells you idea is the core value of Liberalism. Its failure is all too well illustrated by Mr. Coleman and his fix the inner city idea. Detroit! want the jobs to come back? Make Labor unions illegal. The auto industry would be back the very next day, and the jobs, and the money, and all those poor folks could sell their Detroit houses to the people moving back in who wanted to work.
    Supply and demand.

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