And So What Are We To Make Of Derrick Coleman?

via suathletics.syr.edu

A glutton for punishment, I was listening to Colin Cowherd this morning as he took great relish in lambasting Derrick Coleman over his financial situation.  As I'm sure you're well aware, Coleman has declared bankruptcy.  Despite making over $87 million over the course of his playing career, DC today has "only" $1 million in the bank and owes almost $5 million to creditors. 

At first glance, I could understand why Cowherd seemed absolutely giddy trashing the former Syracuse star.  Despite his financial situation, Coleman still maintains ownership of a multiple cars, including a Bentley, two jet skis and two chinchilla furs.  On paper, it's the typical tale of excess we've all come to learn from so many NBA superstars. The jokes write themselves at this point.  And it doesn't help matters that Coleman was already saddled with a somewhat self-imposed reputation for being lazy and surly with the media.

But then there's this...

Coleman's desire to invest in the Detroit area after his playing career ended contributed to his financial problems, Coleman's bankruptcy attorney Mark B. Berke said Friday.

Among Coleman's ventures is a struggling Detroit development called Coleman's Corner, an attempt to revive one of the city's most downtrodden neighborhoods. Coleman defaulted on loans related to the mall last year.

While Coleman was certainly living the good life that he had rightfully earned from his skill set, he wasn't a cut and dry me-first superstar.  At some point in his life, he decided to try and give back, and not in a "write a check to a charity" kind of way.  He invested a ton of money into helping Detroit rebuild itself.  Say what you will of the gamble he took in doing so, but you can't blame a guy for trying.

Of course, the investments in revitalizing Detroit don't define everything about how he spent his money.  He certainly had plenty of other business ventures and expenditures that you would expect a multi-millionaire to be involved with.  There's multiple sides to the way Coleman spent his money, the same way there are multiple sides to Derrick the person.

Did he live in excess, sure.  Most people would if given the chance.  But at least he tried to do something good.  Even if it backfired.  You can blame him for making bad decisions all day long and no one can argue.  You can say he was lazy in basketball and business and there's something to that.  But to boil him down to just another former basketball star who invested all his money in "bling" is disingenuous, uninformed and probably just a tad racist.

Plus, if you're still saying "bling" you're probably white and over 50.  So there's that, too.

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