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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. Anonymous - Apr 11, 2010 at 2:44 AM


  2. Matt - Apr 11, 2010 at 2:48 AM

    Ditto man. Why can’t people see the simple truth of this story.

  3. WyldBill47 - Apr 11, 2010 at 2:49 AM

    I just don’t feel sorry for him, while makeing that 87 Mil, how many tickets were sold to people that couldn’t afford them. No Human is worth that kind of money and then blow it away. Nope, didn’t deserve it nor earn it…….Now he is playing on the public to make himself feel good………

  4. Steve Sucks - Apr 11, 2010 at 2:55 AM

    Dam Steve Desmond. He’s a prick, racist and a jerkoff. He needs to jerk off somewhere and unplug his keyboard. DC was just trying to do something positive for his community. Whats wrong with you SD. Dude u are a disease and a dutsch.

  5. TS - Apr 11, 2010 at 2:56 AM

    Wow MR. Desmond you sound alittle bitter, who pissed in your cornflakes. The fact that Derrick Coleman attempted to help revitalize the area he grew up in is what is being applauded. I think he was and is a very good yet wasted talent who only put out enough effort to get by. At least he tried to better an area in our fair US, and not just to make money. He tried, better than most.

  6. Matt - Apr 11, 2010 at 2:56 AM

    Nobody says “How come they don’t give back” nobody! I will say that how they play basketball is important. He was tring to be like Magic Johnson and Shaq who have found away to use their name to draw innner city money to their investments. D.Coleman did not play well enough to garner himself a name. He should have done like 50 cent and invested in vitamin water. He made more from that one investment that all his music will ever make him.

  7. IMO - Apr 11, 2010 at 3:03 AM

    its funny…but i kinda agree with both sides of the argument…on one hand he might have been trying to do some good for a struggling city (similar to what Magic Johnson did and is still doing for MANY LA neighborhoods)…BUT, unlike MJ, I’ve read that DC has a poor work ethic and an article I came across from 2007 mentioned exactly that poor work ethic and it affecting his ability to sustain a successful business…I guess they were right. It can’t all be blamed on the economy. Smart investors (like Magic)know when to start paying close attention to the drip dropping revenues…and smart investors don’t open Nike stores in neighborhoods where the people would be better served with a payless shoe store or (better yet) a community bank that offers good solid advice on wise spending and saving. Instead, DC opened a strip mall with a check cashing place…the worst kind of business for poor neighborhoods. I don’t know if he was just ignorant and misled or if he just really wanted to make more money for himself. Doesn’t matter now…

  8. TS - Apr 11, 2010 at 3:05 AM

    All the guys slamming DC like he himself submitted the article for publicity, how much money have any of you invested in any community to help bring it back to life. It is easy to sit back and either do nothing or invest in an already successful neighborhood. To do so for a crumbling inner city neighborhood is extremely admirable and a true leap of faith. One reason some imppovervished people stay that way is many others look down on them and do not give them a lifeline out of that poverty. Man I wish I could be perfect like those slamming DC for tossing that lifeline out there.

  9. sj fred - Apr 11, 2010 at 3:06 AM

    so…. disagreeing with Bush’s administration is not racist but a unpatriotic communistic pinko? Sounds like you are saying that it is not OK to be racist but it is OK to be an ideologue. What make this country great is that we can all agree to disagree – labeling each other impedes the flow of discourse.

  10. TS - Apr 11, 2010 at 3:08 AM

    All the guys slamming DC like he himself submitted the article for publicity, how much money have any of you invested in any community to help bring it back to life. It is easy to sit back and either do nothing or invest in an already successful neighborhood. To do so for a crumbling inner city neighborhood is extremely admirable and a true leap of faith. One reason some imppovervished people stay that way is many others look down on them and do not give them a lifeline out of that poverty. Man I wish I could be perfect like those slamming DC for tossing that lifeline out there.

  11. sj fred - Apr 11, 2010 at 3:14 AM

    Great idea… let’s all hire the illegals and make them work in our secret sweatshops. If they try to sue, we kick their behinds out of USA. If the current auto workers want to work, they’d be paid minimum wages and no benefits. The big three will be so flowing with cash that they don’t have to care what kind of crappy car they make. Yeah, that’s the ticket to solve our economic problem.

  12. Randy Ewart - Apr 11, 2010 at 3:30 AM

    Someone’s angry at the world…I hope your rant was cathartic.
    Great story – I wonder how much his pension is, more than my salary…

  13. smokehouse - Apr 11, 2010 at 9:27 AM

    DC should have known better. Anyone who puts money in a city as corrupt as Detroit or any other city controlled by Democrats usually ends up like this. These large urban cities are in ruins because of liberals. Just look at the mess the liberal in Washington is doing to our nations finances. Liberalism is a nasty disease.

  14. bluehawk - Apr 11, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    Hey Derrick,
    I have some beachfont property in Arizona…interested???

  15. dan - Apr 11, 2010 at 7:25 PM

    A fool and his money are soon parted,

  16. C.L. Parks - Apr 11, 2010 at 11:20 PM

    that is a story that is sad but not a crime.Plenty of former sports stars make mistakes and some recover from it, but I think Derrick did not have the right people around him to watch his back. You have to protect your lifetime investments, just like a corporation protects their product.

  17. hoffman - Apr 12, 2010 at 3:59 AM

    I find it hard to believe this gentleman was investing all his cash, benovolently, for the good of the poor people of Detroit. It was a business opportunity that he thought he was going to make a lot of money doing, plain and simple. And it didn’t work out. Now he is broke. It was a poor business decision.

  18. Danny Del Rossi - Apr 12, 2010 at 8:55 AM

    I’m glad you added that he will live comfortably off his pension. And for you naysayers that claim he was only in it for the money, wake up. He could have invested in many other areas that didn’t have the risk. The fact that he kept his money in Detroit shows allegiance.

  19. Hoops McCann - Apr 12, 2010 at 12:09 PM

    Smokehouse you must be smoking something powerful. It was BUSHY and his cronies that turned a 10 Trillion Dollar projected surplus into a 10 Trillion dollar debt and bankrupted America! Where were you? Smoking something in your smokehouse? Only the truly ignorant can possibly blame ‘Bama and Liberals for The Great Depression II that he inherited.
    Apparently nobody here saw the television program that detailed what Coleman was trying to do in and for Detroit. His motives certainly appeared to be altruistic and he knew full well he was taking a big risk. I’m certain he protected a large junk of his cash. The banks will take the brunt of the loss and then we (the taxpayers) will bail them out, again. Business as usual.

  20. pspear - Apr 12, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    I sure didn’t read all of this ignorant racist vitirol when Lenny Dykstra went belly up! There are plenty of people and business’s that fail everyday, but the American Way is to get up dust yourself off and try again, that’s what we do!! That is what made this country great. Those of you who keep bashing Unions need to go back and reread your history. Without Unions there are no paid vactions, workmans compensation when you get hurt on the job, no fourty hour work week, no time and a half overtime, no double time on Sundays and your seven year old doesn’t have to work to help make in meet because there are child labor laws. If we took all the money we use to prop up Saudi Arabia, fight a usless war in Afganistan (ask the Russian),and let Iran and Iraq go back to what they have been doing for thousands of years, which is killing each other we can invest those trillions od dollars into our own infrastructure, education systems,solar power, wind turbine etc….America can once again take her rightful place leading the FREE WORLD!! REMEMBER THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE!!! No Man controls the Mob, the Mob controls the Man!!

  21. stopjocknmyswag - Apr 15, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    You sound like the jerk pc of sh*t. What have you tried to do to help others? Have you even bothered to hold the door for someone w/their hands full? Your comments are mean spirited and disgraceful. Perhaps you will be the one who terms up broke.

  22. Anonymous - Apr 15, 2010 at 4:04 PM

    Congratulations, Steve, you’re officially an @$$hole. I’m no Coleman fan, but what he’s attempting to accomplish has nothing to do with “intelligence”. It has to do with “heart”. Your comments show what a completely ignorant human being you are.

  23. Jeff - Apr 19, 2010 at 11:56 PM

    While his money may be gone, I wonder if Mr. Coleman really considers himself poor.
    Many who work to help the less fortunate find great “wealth” in what the process brings. I know I do, even with a small income.
    While his millions may be gone I consider someone with Mr. Coleman’s energetic compassion wealthy indeed.

  24. Tapan - Apr 22, 2010 at 5:28 PM

    First and foremost, many of you forget what his true intentions actually were. He WANTED to help a dying community revitalize itself. His heart was in the right place, who say’s things wont work out in the future for the Coleman family. When things get bad, we’re suppose to run away and criticize the individual for his losses?
    America is a country of opportunity, did we all forget this? We sit here, typing on a computer over an internet which 15 years ago DID NOT EVEN EXIST. If one thing we all must realize is that we can overcome anything we want to overcome.
    Mr. Derrick Coleman, I admire your spirit, your tenacity and your belief. Its men like you who make for a better tomorrow.

  25. Hannity - Apr 25, 2010 at 8:41 AM

    I’m sorry but if you make 87 million dollars and don’t have the brains to put at least some of it away, I can’t sympathize. Thats just pathetic.

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