In celebration of Black History Month, the Detroit Pistons have identified a select group of prominent Black leaders and influencers who have promoted equality and excellence throughout the Metro-Detroit area to receive the Icon of Status award. Each of these individuals has displayed a distinguished service to Detroit and is committed to community engagement and equality.
Throughout February, each of these individuals received their ceremony of recognition during a Pistons home game. This includes a video feature highlighting their accomplishments and community work and in-game moment of recognition. Additionally, each Icon of Status honorees will be presented with a Crown Royal-branded box that includes a Detroit Pistons Black History Month Starter Jacket designed by Ty Mopkins and a personalized Crown Royal bag a bottle of Crown Royal XR:
Honoree Tarence Wheeler and Derrick Coleman were honored at a February 9 game.
Wheeler is the founder and CEO of the Tarence Wheeler Foundation. The Detroit native and former all-state basketball player once played college hoops for the Arizona State Sun Devils. After playing professional basketball, Wheeler returned to Detroit and saw children who lacked hope, families that were deprived, and neighborhoods that were crime-ridden. He decided to make a difference. Since 2007, Wheeler’s volunteer efforts have impacted the lives of over 105,000 people through his All-Star Giveback program, mentoring and partnerships within the community. Wheeler often says that he is in the life-saving business, constantly giving back to the community that raised him.
Coleman another local legend who grew up in Detroit and his accomplishments in high school, college, NBA, and in the Olympics are why he is regarded as one of the Top 10 players of all-time to come out of the Mitten State. As a retired 15-year NBA veteran and ambassador of the sport, Coleman and his staff mentor and teach Detroit youth about the importance of education, growing, and leading them down a path to have success in all areas.
Posthumous honoree Benny Napoleon was honored during a February 11 game.
With almost four decades of public service under his belt, Napoleon was a leader in many realms including law enforcement and county government and was a practicing attorney. His focus was on community education and crime prevention, volunteerism, and so much more.
He worked smart and diligently, quickly progressing throughout the police department, all the way up to being appointed chief of police by Mayor Dennis W. Archer in 1998.
After more than 26 years of distinguished service, Chief Napoleon retired from the Detroit Police Department in 2001. In 2004, Napoleon was named assistant Wayne County executive to help facilitate the administration of the nation’s 13th largest county. He served in that role until he was appointed Wayne County sheriff in July 2009.
Honoree Monica Lewis-Patrick was honored during a February 14 game.
Lewis-Patrick is an educator, entrepreneur, and human rights activist/advocate. Along with the other four founders of the non-profit organization We the People of Detroit (WPD), Lewis-Patrick, with the leadership of volunteers and community experts, placed herself and WPD at the forefront of the water justice struggle in Michigan, across the country, and globally. Lewis-Patrick is known throughout the environmental justice community as “The Water Warrior.” She is extremely engaged in working for access to safe, affordable water for all under-resourced communities.
She is currently one of the leaders at the forefront of the water rights struggle in Michigan.
Honoree Big Sean will be honored during a February 26 game.
The Detroit native Sean Michael Leonard Anderson, 32, is a rapper signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music and Island Def Jam.
He was raised by his mother and grandparents who raised him with the importance of hard work and determination. Sean attended Cass Technical High School where he expanded his music career and gained the support of fans and peers as he independently sold copies of his music. Sean gained a strong relationship with 102.7FM, where he displayed his rhyming skills weekly. There, he met Kanye West after a radio interview in 2005 and got a chance to display his talent by freestyling for Mr. West, giving him a copy of his music, and sending numerous tracks for him to look at. After months of submitting songs and numerous meetings, Sean finally got the call from Kanye West himself saying that he wanted to sign him.
Sean released his debut studio album, Finally Famous, in 2011, which peaked at number three on Billboard 200, and was certified Platinum. He released his second studio album, Hall of Fame, in 2013, which peaked at number three on Billboard 200, and became certified Gold.
Sean’s next albums, Dark Sky Paradise (2015), I Decided (2017), and Detroit 2 (2020), all debuted atop the Billboard 200 and received Platinum certifications.
Posthumous honoree Marlowe Stoudamire will be honored during a February 28 game.
Stoudamire was a business strategist, social capitalist, and an excellent communicator with 20 years’ experience and a proven track record in business, philanthropy, and community. He was principal of integrated marketing & social impact firm, 2050 Partners, Inc., helping people, organizations, and cities stay relevant and connected as demographics, trends, and industries shift across the world.
More recently, he led the Detroit Historical Society’s award-winning and ground-breaking Detroit 67: Looking Back to MOVE FORWARD project, receiving the 2018 IMLS National Medal – the nation’s highest award bestowed to museums and libraries; and finishing in second place at 2019 Best in Heritage Conference “Projects of Influence” featuring the top 42 award-winning global projects (5 continents) across the museum heritage sector.
Stoudamire, who wore many hats, was trusted and respected by mentors, peers, and subject matter experts across different cultures, generations, and geographies. He gave back to the community in a big way.
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