Ownership: Tom Gores
Tom Gores is owner of the Detroit Pistons and Chairman and CEO of global investment firm Platinum Equity. A graduate of Michigan State University who grew up in Flint, MI, Gores has substantial family and business ties to the region. His wife, Holly, a Michigan native who also graduated from Michigan State, has deep roots in the area and both are actively involved in the local community. Gores has often described the Pistons as a “community asset” with the power to unite and inspire people in Detroit and throughout Michigan.
In his most impactful move since acquiring the franchise in 2011, Gores returned the Pistons to downtown Detroit in 2017 and in 2019, opened the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center - a state-of-the-art practice facility and corporate headquarters. This year, the franchise welcomes the Motor City Cruise and NBA G League to Detroit for their inaugural season at the new Wayne State Arena on the campus of Wayne State University. The franchise’s partnership and activation on three new basketball venues has brought more investment and economic activity to the city and a comprehensive community benefits package that is aiding Detroit’s neighborhoods.
The club’s performance center is one of the top sports medicine, practice facility and team headquarters complexes in the NBA. Located in the New Center area of Detroit, the state-of-the-art training facility connects to the Henry Ford Health System Center for Athletic Medicine complex that houses physicians and researchers specializing in rehabilitative treatment, injury diagnosis and prevention. The integration of sports science and research with day-to-day player training sessions provides Pistons players with a substantial competitive advantage and ensures the franchise has the best tools available anywhere for maximizing player development and attracting and retaining top talent. Serving the public interest, the facility includes retail spaces that create jobs and make the neighborhood an even more attractive place to live and work. Michigan-based grocer Plum Market opened its first café and market location in Detroit on site and Planet Fitness is slated to open a publicly accessible gym this winter.
While continuing to maximize the franchise’s business and community impact off the court, Gores added firepower to the team’s front office with the 2020 hiring of General Manager Troy Weaver. Known as one of the NBA’s elite young talent evaluators, he enters year two of his tenure as the club’s lead basketball operations executive with a mandate from Gores to create a progressive, dynamic organization that blends proven, hard-earned experience with the best of modern, cutting-edge practices. Weaver got right to work in his first year by selecting Killian Hayes with the No. 7 pick of the 2020 NBA Draft and acquiring two additional first-round picks (No. 16 – Isaiah Stewart and No. 19 Saddiq Bey) and a second-round selection (No. 38 – Saben Lee) via trades. He attacked free agency with similar aggressiveness by adding Denver 2020 playoff standout Jerami Grant as part of a sign-and-trade transaction. Having completely turned over the roster in year one – the Pistons won the NBA Draft Lottery this past offseason and with the No. 1 selection in the 2021 NBA Draft, the club selected Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham. Weaver added Michigan’s Isaiah Livers and Iowa’s Luke Garza in the second round and bolstered the team’s veteran leadership with free agent acquisitions Kelly Olynyk and Cory Joseph.
Weaver’s moves have been widely praised throughout NBA circles, and he forms a powerful front office duo with former NBA Coach of the Year Dwane Casey, who’s contract was extended this offseason. An experienced, highly respected head coach who took the Toronto Raptors franchise to new heights and is known for his ability to develop and maximize young talent, Casey was attracted to Gores’ vision for the franchise and its prospects for the future. After leading the club to the 2018 NBA Playoffs in his first year in Detroit, Casey will utilize his well-documented player development skills to guide a young team and implement his free-flowing offense system and fundamental defensive principles.
Off the court, Gores and his organization have remained equally committed to making an impact in the community. Gores, Pistons’ Vice Chairman Arn Tellem and the Detroit Pistons Foundation have made significant commitments to many local charitable organizations, including S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center, Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Michigan, the Detroit Police Athletic League, City Year, Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, the Bing Youth Institute/BINGO Mentoring Program, Forgotten Harvest, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, HAVEN and the Jalen Rose Youth Academy. The basketball team also supports a wide-range of community programs through NBA Cares that focus on health and fitness, education, military, special needs, Black History and the environment. Since its inception in 2005, the NBA Cares program has generated more than $105 million for charity, donated over 950,000 hours of hands-on volunteer service and built more than 415 places where kids and families can live, learn or play.
As the NBA and sports teams continue to play an important role in championing social justice efforts and equity initiatives, the Detroit Pistons stepped to the forefront in driving civic engagement around the 2020 general election. The Pistons were the second professional sports team to offer their practice facility and team headquarters for election purposes, utilizing the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center as a receiving board with over 150 employees volunteering and serving as election workers. The club also worked with the Detroit City Clerk to install a secure drop box giving voters the ability to cast early ballots safely and securely, utilized players and legends to produce voting PSA’s and hosted community events to drive voter registration. As the upcoming season moves forward, the organization will continue to build bridges by connecting local youth and law enforcement as part of a partnership with PeacePlayers and strengthen existing non-profit relationships that educate, support inclusion and create opportunity and equality.
Gores and the Pistons are investing $2.5 million over six years for a City Court Rehabilitation project in partnership with the City of Detroit Recreation Department, which will oversee the construction, renovation and refurbishment of 60 basketball courts in parks throughout Detroit. In 2016, Gores launched FlintNOW, a $10 million private sector campaign to support short- and long-term relief and revitalization initiatives in response to the Flint water crisis. FlintNOW has cultivated relationships with dozens of key stakeholders and deployed resources to programs focused on immediate relief, healthy food and nutrition, education and long-term economic revitalization. The Pistons have been active in their support of FlintNOW, as have many other businesses. Other FlintNOW partnerships include a $25 million economic development program launched with Huntington Bank, a healthy foods initiative created with the National Basketball Players Association, and numerous campaigns that have provided millions of dollars in support to local Flint charitable organizations. In August of 2017, Gores and former Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe announced a $2 million commitment to help fund the creation of a Flint Promise scholarship program. The privately funded scholarships launched for the 2018-19 school year. Furthering Gores’ long-term vision to impact young people his hometown, he recently brought the nationally renowned Vision To Learn program to Flint in May 2018, providing free eye exams and glasses to students in need across Flint Community Schools.
Strong relationships, trust in people and open communication are hallmarks of Gores’ approach and have been fundamental to the success of Platinum Equity, the investment firm he founded in 1995. Under his leadership, Platinum Equity has grown into a multibillion-dollar investment firm with a diverse, global portfolio of operating companies in a wide range of different industries. The firm has approximately $23 billion of assets under management and its portfolio comprises approximately 40 operating companies generating more than $25 billion in revenue. Platinum Equity has invested in many Michigan-based companies in a range of different industries, including automotive, transportation and logistics, and boat manufacturing.
Gores’ focus on operational execution is a hallmark of Platinum Equity’s approach. The firm employs a highly specialized strategy it calls M&A&O® that integrates investment expertise with deep operational capability and resources. Its focus on operational execution is a signature of Platinum Equity’s differentiation in the global M&A marketplace.
Gores’ attention to detail and commitment to executing on fundamentals can be traced back to his early experience in learning to run a business from the ground up. He started out in the software industry as an entrepreneur who founded a successful business that provided inventory and supply chain management solutions to the lumber industry. As a small business operator, where companies often trade principally on their good word and ability to follow through on what they promise, Gores learned the importance of empowerment, hard work and integrity – principles that guide him still today.
Born in Nazareth, Israel, Gores (57) moved with his family at age four to Genesee, MI, where he grew up and went to high school. He worked his way through college, earning a Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State in 1986. He and Holly have three children and reside in Beverly Hills, CA. The family also maintains a residence in Birmingham, MI.
Gores is a long-time supporter of initiatives focused on education, health care and the arts. He also has a deep passion for youth sports, having coached numerous soccer and basketball teams and funded a broad range of sports-related programs that teach kids valuable lessons about teamwork, leadership and commitment.