“You Gave Us Hope”: Ten Years After Saving Detroit From Bankruptcy, Jim ‘The Shark’ Dreyer Pens Down Shocking Story of Eminem’s Homeland

Published 09/27/2023, 3:08 PM EDT

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The city of Detroit once faced a hard-hitting financial crisis that led to its bankruptcy. The finances of the bustling city collapsed in 2013, leading to a loss of both money and hope in people. While Detroit’s Rap-God Eminem has frequently talked about problems with money, his homeland faced a debt of $18 billion. Despite this, the desolate city received a saving grace in the form of Jim ‘The Shark’ Dreyer.

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While this impossibly huge situation had hit Slim Shady’s home, Dreyer swam to their city with a ton of bricks. The human tugboat spoke with the citizens and addressed their desperation and hopelessness. During an exclusive interview with EssentiallySports, Dreyer spoke about his swim to Detroit and his experience with the people. Although Dreyer didn’t ease away the whopping debt of the city, he gifted them with something more valuable than money.

Jim ‘The Shark’ Dreyer with a ton of hopes on his back

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Although sharks are usually associated with debts, Jim ‘The Shark’ Dreyer brought the exact opposite change in Detroit. During the exclusive ES interview, Dreyer said, “Living here in Michigan in the United States, Detroit is the largest city. I’m also a big Detroit sports fan and wore a Detroit Tigers baseball cap. When the city filed for bankruptcy, I really took notice.” The Shark mentioned that he swam a lot for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and naturally wanted to help out.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is a non-profit body that pairs young kids with verified adults to mentor them. “When Detroit filed for bankruptcy, I actually got with them and said what could we do by starting to rebuild Detroit,” revealed Dreyer. The heavyweight swimmer decided to swim to Detroit from Michigan through Lake St. Clair with a ton of bricks. The Shark later planned to sell the commemorative bricks and raise funds for the city. However, this was just the tip of the iceberg. His real gift lay in the words he said to the people.

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A press conference welcomed Dreyer in Detroit where he said, “You know, if one man can swim 22 miles pulling a ton of bricks and keep his head above water, then doesn’t it stand to read that we don’t have to sink with the weight of our financial burdens if we all pull together?” This moved the people of Eminem’s homeland. “The thing I feel best about is the people who expressed to me that Jim you really gave us a lot of hope. And we needed hope. And, it’s hard to put a price on that,” said the proud 60-year-old. Dreyer’s message reached people loud and clear. In fact, his popularity among the people made him crack a joke about standing for the position of Mayor.

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Reaching out to people despite difficulties

According to the human tugboat, “I joked that the governor of Michigan was concerned that I was running for his position which was not the case.” However, Jim ‘The Shark’ Dreyer did acknowledge that his words of encouragement did sound like a big political statement. Humor aside, the Herculean swimmer really went all out to contribute as much as he could to Detroit. 

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The hardy swimmer and Stan Lee’s Superhuman described his swim to Detroit against the current as pushing a car over several speedbumps. Despite this, the then-50-year-old didn’t quit his mission and carried onward. For Jim ‘The Shark’ Dreyer, the end result and the peoples’ smiles will always be a thing to cherish. Moreover, the impact he created in 2013 will forever remain in the hearts of the citizens of Detroit.

WATCH STORY – Tiger Woods’ ‘Massive Scream for Help’ Resonated With Michael Phelps, Who Comforted the Golfer During a Dark Moment in 2017.

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Written by:

Ankit Singh

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One take at a time

Ankit Singh is a pro writer for US Sports at Essentially Sports. This surfing enthusiast has kept his watchful eye on all things Kelly Slater. With his prior experience as a senior writer for popular blogs in the country, Ankit brings his attention to detail to the nuances of every turn, snap, 360, and alley-oop on the surfboard.
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Edited by:

Sherjeel Malik

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