Hall-of-Fame Owner William (Bill) Davidson Dies at 86

David McClureCorrespondent IMarch 14, 2009

Mar. 14, 2009.

Bill Davidson passed away last night.

Bill, or Mr. D, as he is sometimes called, was, in my opinion, the greatest professional sports owner that we have known.

He is most famous for what he has done with the Detroit Pistons since he acquired them in 1974. Taking them from near the bottom of league to the top. Making it one of the top National Basketball Association's top franchises.

Bill was a successful man, both with money and in sports.

Bill purchased the Tampa Bay Lightning, an NHL franchise that was at the bottom of the league, in 1999 and helped them to their first Stanley Cup in 2004.

Two other teams under Davidson's ownership, the Detroit Viper's of the IHL and the Detroit Shock of the WNBA, have both been top franchises in their own rights. Both have won championships in recent years.

In total, sports teams under Davidson have won a combined eight championships.

A large part of Davidson's fortune comes from his ownership of Guardian Industries. A main supplier of automotive glass.

Bill attended the University of Michigan, spent time in the Navy, and received a law degree from Wayne State University.

He was well known for his philanthropy. Most recently the Pistons organization sponsored it's annual Telethon during a game against the Knicks. They collected money to help provide food for children that need it.

It was the last home game before his passing and represented the two things he should be known for most.

His love of sports and his giving spirit.

Please, when you read this, take a moment of silence to honor this great sports icon. He will be missed by many, loved by most, and never forgotten by those whose life he has touched.

Davidson has resided in the Detroit Metro area his entire life and is survived by his wife Karen, their two children Ethan and Marla, and their three stepdaughters. Our thoughts, prayers, and thanks go out to the Davidson family.