Five billionaires consider Michigan their home, and none is more famous than Dan Gilbert.
In 1985, he co-founded Quicken Loans, the largest mortgage lender in the country. He also owns the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers and wrote one of the most famous letters in the world criticizing LeBron James after leaving Cleveland and playing in Miami.
According to Forbes Magazine, Gilbert is number 23 of the richest people in the world. His wealth increased dramatically after taking his Rocket Companies public on the New York Stock Exchange, from $6.5 billion in 2020 to $30.9 billion in 2021.
Daniel Gilbert was born in Detroit and raised in Southfield, Michigan. Southfield is about 15 miles north of downtown Detroit.
He earned his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and his law degree from Wayne State Law School. While a student, he earned his real estate agent's license and worked with his parents' Century 21 Real Estate agency.
He accumulated his wealth by starting Rock Financial in 1985, which later became Quicken Loans after software maker Intuit Inc. bought the company. Rock Financial is one of the first mortgage lenders to use the internet to become a direct mortgage lender.
Most people in Detroit know Gilbert as the majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and his well-documented public dispute with LeBron James after LeBron James announced his decision on public TV to take his talent to Miami. Gilbert didn't take LeBron James lightly, so he wrote an open letter criticizing James's decision.
Dan Gilbert and LeBron James overcame their troubles and delivered a championship to Cleveland, which ended the 52-year Cleveland sports curse. Gilbert purchased the Cavaliers in 2005 for $375 million. The team's estimated value is now $1.56 billion.
Gilbert is a brilliant business executive who knows how to win on and off the court.
However, Gilbert loves his hometown and is committed to bringing Detroit back to life. He wants to revitalize the motor city by spending his money and attracting investors to buy and restore old buildings in the Detroit area.
In 2010, Gilbert moved Quicken Loans headquarters and 1,700 employees to Detroit. He also recently invested $5.6 billion to purchase and rehab several buildings in downtown Detroit, which will create 24,000 jobs.
Helping Detroit residents
He also committed to helping the residents of his hometown. Earlier this year, "He announced a ten-year, $500 million investment today to aid community organizations and low-income residents in his home city of Detroit, Michigan."
He wants to pay their property tax debt to ensure that they focus on other responsibilities. "Removing this tax burden will build a stronger foundation for Detroit families to thrive." He adds, "Everyone deserves to achieve the American dream of homeownership, which includes the ability to sustainably and permanently enjoy the home you make for yourself, your family, and your loved ones."
Gilbert suffered a stroke in 2019, and he is slowly returning to work.
He is using a wheelchair and utilizing his service dog, Cowboy, to help him navigate this new phase of his life. He also spends three or four hours a day working with physical and professional therapists at his home.
In his first interview since the stroke, Gilbert told Crain's Detroit Business, "When you have a stroke, here's the problem: Everything is hard. Everything. Like you wake up, getting out of bed is hard, going to the bathroom is hard, and sitting down and eating at a table is hard. You name it. You don't get a break. You're like trapped in your own body."
Grant is getting ready.
His son, Grant Gilbert, insists that he is not next to take over his father's responsibilities. However, he is becoming the face of the Gilbert family and getting involved in many family business transactions.
Early this year, Grant told Sports Business Journal, " But in terms of staying engaged and helping impact and being involved (with the Cavs), that's something I want to do for the rest of my life." Grant has been so noticeable around the team this season, which is part of the reason for the popular speculation about Grant's future.
If you had Gilbert's money, what causes would you support?