Posted Apr 11 2011 8:53PM - Updated Apr 11 2011 9:27PM
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Tom Gores is ready to take over the Detroit Pistons and try to lead the proud franchise back to prominence.
Gores was in a suite when the Pistons hosted the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night, three days after he reached an agreement to buy the team. He spoke with reporters briefly as the game began, saying he wants to build on the foundation set by Bill Davidson, who owned the Pistons when they won NBA titles in 1989, 1990 and 2004.
"Bill clearly built this house. I have to build on it," Gores said. "All we've done is make a deal to buy the team. We have to do more."
Davidson died in 2009, and his wife Karen agreed Friday to sell the franchise to Gores, the chairman and CEO of California-based Platinum Equity.
Gores is a Flint native and has a degree from Michigan State, though he now lives in California with his wife and three children.
"Excited is not actually the right word. Ecstatic. I'm back in Michigan, where I grew up, and I appreciate everybody welcoming me back," Gores said. "I grew up with sports, but mostly I'm excited about inspiring the town. We're together on this thing. This is a community asset."
The Pistons were 29-51 entering Monday's game. The franchise seemed in limbo most of the season as the sale process dragged on. Empty seats have been common at home, and that, coupled with feuding between coaches and players, added to a sense of gloom.
"Are we afraid of change? Absolutely not. We're ready for change. No problem," Gores said. "Sometimes you need change, but we are going to learn right now. There is a great, deep organization here that existed before us, and we need to make the most out of that. This is not a culture you throw away. This is an unbelievable city, it's an unbelievable organization."
When asked about team president Joe Dumars' status, Gores was noncommittal but did offer a bit of an endorsement.
"We're in the learning process. Joe is an amazing part of the Pistons' organization," Gores said. "We have to talk more, make sure we're all on the same page, but he clearly is a part of this legacy."
The sale still has to be approved, but NBA commissioner David Stern said last week the league was looking forward to introducing Gores to an advisory-finance committee Thursday.
Gores gave little indication of how hands-on he would be as an owner, but his passion was obvious when he talked about the team and the community.
"I'll be whatever owner this team needs and this franchise needs. When they need me back, I'll be back," he said. "I will be impactful. That's for sure. I want us to be successful. I didn't show up here to not be successful."
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