ABC News Correspondent
CNN & ESPN, Columnist
CEO & Chairman of Under Armour
Detroit’s second annual Homecoming event featured “The Power of Sports,” and a host of superstar athletes and important figures from the sports world brought their expertise to bear during three days of the event. The first evening, guests dined at the Detroit Opera House, joined once again by Governor Snyder. After dinner, Dan Gilbert and Under Armor co-founder and CEO Kevin Plank talked about the ways in which sports can help shape a city’s identity—and foster its growth.
175 attendees listened closely to a discussion by former NBA player and Detroit mayor Dave Bing about his Bing Youth Institute. At the Detroit Institute of Arts on Thursday, the second day of Homecoming, Groupon founders Bray Keywell and Eric Lefkosky spoke, along with Pandora Media creator Tim Westergren. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross joined via video to share his excitement for his former hometown’s resurgence; Ross has to date donated more than $378 million to the University of Michigan. The returning Detroiters spent much of Thursday afternoon touring Detroit’s neighborhoods via private buses with local guides to show them how the city’s dynamic growth is played out on the street level.
For many, the highlight of Detroit Homecoming II was Thursday night’s panel. Moderator Mike Tirico of ESPN engaged in a lively chat about sports, love and Detroit with Al Kaline, Isaiah Thomas, Alex Delvecchio and Barry Sanders. The heroes of all four of Detroit’s sports franchises had listeners rapt with attention as they swapped stories from their playing days and shared their hopes for their cherished town.