Former SU basketball player and Detroit mayor reflects on his life, career
SU alum and former Detroit mayor reflects on life
Dave Bing, former point guard for the Syracuse Orange (1962-1966), returned to his alma mater on Friday, February 17, to speak at an event entitled “‘Attacking the Rim’ A conversation with Dave Bing ’66 H’ 06”, which was a part of the Renewing Democratic Community Speaker Series at Maxwell.
The conversation was moderated by political science associate professor Christopher Faricy, who also is the recipient of the Hicker Family Professorship sponsored by Bing’s former teammate, George Hicker ‘68.
After being introduced by Faricy, Bing joined him on stage and the two sat down to begin the discussion.
When speaking about his first moments here, Bing said that it was a rude awakening for him.
“Coming from D.C., which is a city that is primarily African-American, I didn’t know what to expect coming to Syracuse,” said Bing, adding that he never had the experience of working with people who did not look like him.
However, Bing found community among his fellow teammates at Syracuse. He explained that he never had to deal with racial animosity on campus, but when he experienced it at away games, his team had his back.
When discussing the past regarding racial tensions and his time here, Bing turned to the future and expressed that we must encourage the youth to make a change.
“The world has changed and it’s going to continue to change,” Bing said. “We better start listening to [the youth], respecting them, supporting them because they’re the ones that are going to make this a better world.”
Faricy then asked about Black businesses and how Syracuse leaders can better support them. Bing said that politicians rarely get to know business owners and give them the resources they need to succeed. Using expertise from his own time as an entrepreneur, Bing explained what led to his success. He said that in his business he tried to meet people and understand their needs, which led to him creating his business in Detroit, following his NBA career as a point guard for the Detroit Pistons.
Faricy’s next question surrounded Bing’s time in office as mayor of Detroit and his focus on restoring trust between the city and its people. His biggest takeaway was to lead by example. He was as accessible to his constituents as possible and tried to prove that he was not in this job for the money. He also placed an emphasis on building back the community with help from city businesses.
The final question of the conversation asked about Bing’s mentoring work through the Bing Youth Institute, which is a nonprofit focused on mentoring Black boys in Detroit. Bing spoke on the importance of mentorship and role models for young Black boys. Seeing the statistics of boys in Detroit not finishing high school or going off to college led Bing to work with Black boys to ensure that they were mentored, finished high school, and either went to college or began working.
According to Bing, the program has worked tremendously well.
“We have… a 100% graduation rate. 60% are now in college, …[and the rest have been] paid to get trained and are hired by companies in the Detroit area,” he said.