David Bing Biography

David "Dave" Bing is a former seven-time All-Star whose NBA career spanned 1966-1978. In his rookie year he scored 1,601 points (20.0 points per game) and was named the NBA Rookie of the Year. The next year, he led the NBA in scoring with 2,142 points (27.1 points per game). Bing averaged 20.3 points and six assists per game in his 12 NBA seasons, played in seven NBA All-Star Games (1968, 1969, 19711976, and winning the 1976 NBA All-Star Game MVP Award), was named to the All-NBA First Team twice in 1968 and 1969. He led the NBA in scoring in 1968.

Bing's number 21 was retired by the Detroit Pistons. Bing was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989 and, being chosen as one of the 50 greatest players, was voted to the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996.

Bing went on to become a successful businessman, founding The Bing Group in the Detroit area after his retirement. He was elected mayor of Detroit on May 5, 2009.

Early Years

Bing was born Nov. 23, 1943, in Washington, D.C., the oldest of four children. His father was a bricklayer and his mother was a maid.

He played at Springarn High and earned the respect of his coach Dr. William Roundtree, who not only saw the young man's talent, but recommended him for a tournament of high school All-Americans. Bing played so well that he came away with the tournament MVP and was a prime candidate for a college scholarship.

College Career

Although his skills attracted collegiate interest from such basketball powerhouses as UCLA and the University of Michigan, Bing chose Syracuse at the urging of Ernie Davis, a football All-American at Syracuse. In three varsity seasons he averaged 24.6 points, earning All-America honors as a senior. Bing would electrify fans during his freshman season on the frosh team, and routinely more fans would show up to the freshman game than the varsity game that season. With Bing as the catalyst, SU went from an 8-13 struggling program to a 22-6 NCAA contender, and a team that led the nation in scoring. As a senior Bing was named All-American, was 5th in the nation in scoring with 28.4 ppg, an SU record.

NBA Career

Detroit Pistons (1966-75)

Pro scouts buzzed about him, and the Detroit Pistons made him the second overall pick in the 1966 NBA Draft (behind Cazzie Russell). The NBA Rookie of the Year in the 1966-67 season, he averaged 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. But Bing's Pistons had the next-to-worst record (30-51) in the NBA. The die was cast: Bing would flourish, but his teams would not.

In his second season he led the league in scoring (27.1), the first guard to do so since Max Zaslofsky, who led the circuit with 21 points per game for the Chicago Stags in 1948. Bing's high game was 54 points. He also learned to hone his passing skills.

In the '68 playoffs the Pistons played a tough six games against the Celtics and Bing averaged 28 points. In Game 6 Bing had 37 points in the second half -- at one point 16 in a row -- and 44 for the night, but the Pistons were eliminated. "That isn't bad is it, 37 points in one half," Bill Russell said afterward. "I'd take that in a week."

While the league's best teams -- New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Los Angeles -- always presented formidable opposition for the hapless Pistons, Bing had immense competition in the backcourt, too. The 1960s and '70s may have been the most guard-rich era of NBA history. Oscar Robertson and Jerry West were in their primes. So were Sam Jones, Hal Greer, and Lenny Wilkens. Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe were just hitting their strides. So for Bing to be selected All-NBA first team two times (1968, 1971) in a 12-year career was impressive enough.

Bing averaged between 20 and 27 points in each of his first seven seasons, but Detroit made the playoffs in only 1968, failing to win even a single series. The Pistons improved to 45-37 in Bob Lanier's rookie year in 1971, but slid to the Midwest Division cellar with a record of 26-56 in 1972, when Bing missed 27 games due to a detached retina. They never had a sniff of playoff success. They won their first postseason series in 1976, but by then Bing was gone, traded to the Washington Bullets in August 1975.

Washington Bullets (1975-77)

Bing won the All-Star Game MVP in 1976 when he scored 16 points. His scoring, however, was down to 10 points a game, and he was waived by the Bullets and signed as a free agent by Boston in September 1977. The trade came nine months too soon for Bing, since Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes and Bobby Dandridge brought Washington its only World Championship in 1978.

Boston Celtics (1977-78)

Bad timing also characterized Bing's landing in Boston at the end of the Havlicek era and just before the Bird era. No amount of Celtics' mystique could keep the team from a 30-52 record in 1978, and Bing, who averaged 13.8 ppg and a career-best 82.4 percent from the free throw line, retired after the season.

Post-Playing Career

During his offseasons, Bing worked in Detroit for a bank, the Chrysler Corporation and a small steel company, teaching himself finance and deal-making.

Bing returned to Detroit and launched Bing Steel in 1980. A decade later, the firm had grown to annual sales of $61 million, making it the 10th-largest African-American-owned industrial company in the nation, according to Black Enterprise magazine's rankings. He went on to acquire Superb Manufacturing, a $28 million-per-year metal-stamping company, as well as a small construction firm.

On October 16, 2008, Bing announced that he would be a candidate for the mayor of Detroit. He finished first in a 15 candidate non-partisan primary on February 24, 2009. On May 5, 2009, the top two vote getters faced off and he defeated interim Mayor Kenneth Cockrel, Jr. and was elected to complete former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's term, which ends December 31, 2009. Bing won a full election in November of 2009 and is currently serving as the 70th mayor of Detroit.