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Lassiter, Tellem Make a Business Play for a Healthier Community

Henry Ford Health System and the Detroit Pistons proved partnerships and investment can empower communities with the opening of the long-awaited Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center in Detroit. In a one-on-one conversation at the 2020 Detroit Policy Conference, Henry Ford Health System President Wright L. Lassiter III and Detroit Pistons Vice Chairman Arn Tellem discussed this partnership and how it represents more than a business deal 

When Tellem arrived in Detroit in 2015, questions were swirling about the Pistons’ move to Detroit.  

“The vision was that if we moved downtown, I wanted to create a place not just for our players to train,” Tellem said. “We wanted to create partnerships that had a positive impact on the community…and set ourselves apart for how we contributed to Detroit’s rebirth.” 

Tellem wanted a practice facility that broke the mold of the usual private, walled-off facilities of the league and to share its cutting-edge resources with the surrounding community. This is evident in the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center’s public access to healthy groceries, fitness activities and equipment, as well as entertainment space for gathering the community.  

Lassiter and the Henry Ford Health System team shared that same vision for their business, ensuring their work benefits their community beyond patient care.  

“This is a multi-layer partnership,” Lassiter said. “We don’t just focus on sports. We don’t just focus on winning and health care. We focus on trying to uplift the community as well.” 

These organizations’ investments in the city continue to foster ongoing improvements in the communities they inhabit through projects rooted in the longevity and sustainability of their results.  

A poignant symbol of this partnership and connectivity of sports, medicine, and community is the physical bridge that connects the two organizations’ buildings in Detroit. 

“Going back to the idea of how environment shapes culture…it’s been a real positive for both of us.” 

Thank you to TCF Bank for sponsoring this session. 

After learning about its development, see the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center firsthand at the Chamber’s Spring Membership Reception on Tuesday, April 21 from 6-8 p.m. Learn more, and register today.