A player ready to make his mark in a city ready to explode
The Detroit that first welcomed Bing in the fall of 1966 after the Pistons tabbed him with the second overall selection in that year’s NBA draft was a smoldering powder keg. What would become Bing’s adopted hometown was already in trouble.
The toughest test yet for Detroit’s iron-willed mayor
Now, on November 16, 2011, Bing faced perhaps his most daunting task. The city under his command was spinning in a cauldron, a creature of its own political hubris and fiscal neglect. And it was sure to get a lot hotter for everyone—the mayor included—before it cooled off.
Detroit mayor Dave Bing has achieved an unprecedented combination of success as an athlete, businessman, and politician. Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press tells Bing’s compelling against-all-odds tale while providing an intimate look at the basketball hall of famer and the challenges he faces in rebuilding the city in which he once starred.
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What kind of person loses sight in one eye and then through dedicated practice and honed skills becomes one of the top 50 NBA players of all time? What kind of person, with limited business experience, builds a start-up company into a thriving corporation and is recognized as one of the world’s most successful black executives? What kind of person, while running a $350 million business, takes the time to reach out to black youths lacking father figures and provides counsel and support? And what kind of person, instead of enjoying a well-deserved luxurious retirement, chooses to become mayor of a large city that many long ago had written off as dead? Dave Bing, that’s who.
In Dave Bing: A Life of Challenge, Detroit Free Press sports columnist Drew Sharp chronicles the compelling story of a figure whose sheer will to succeed, refusal to make excuses for setbacks, and efforts to contribute to society set him apart as an anomaly—a man of virtues so rarely found in recent history. His path from Washington D.C. to Syracuse to Detroit is sometimes tumultuous, blazed by hard work, perseverance, and savvy. Much more than the stereotypical tale of celebrity ex-jock who does good, this is a story about a black male who, even as a youngster, determined to conquer whatever challenges came his way.
And now, as mayor of Detroit, Bing encounters perhaps his greatest test of all. Faced with entrenched and power-hungry political foes, a series of failed and corrupt predecessors, a work force ill prepared for today’s job market, a staggering city debt, and recent health problems, Bing would appear to have little chance of surviving his office. Both the naysayers and optimists would do well to read the book.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1 The Anomaly
Chapter 2 The Start in D.C.
Chapter 3 The College Choice
Chapter 4 The Syracuse Experience
Chapter 5 The Possible Destination
Chapter 6 The Draft
Chapter 7 The Riots
Chapter 8 The Rookie Year
Chapter 9 The Mentor
Chapter 10 The City’s Disorders
Chapter 11 The Trade
Chapter 12 The Return
Chapter 13 The (Almost) Deal
Chapter 14 The Boardroom
Chapter 15 The Next Mayor
Chapter 16 The Political Mess
Chapter 17 The Speech
Drew Sharp joined the Detroit Free Press in 1983 and served as the paper’s beat writer during the Pistons’ first two NBA championship seasons in 1989 and 1990. He also covered Michigan State University sports for eight years before becoming a columnist in 1999. Sharp is the only columnist in Detroit to have grown up in the city, giving him a unique first-person point of reference to the significant sports and political events in the city over the past five decades.
A versatile columnist who has developed a national reputation for delivering critical analysis, Sharp has an extensive body of work that reveals a mixture of compelling commentary and character profiles. He once wrote a regular column for USA Today and has appeared frequently as an ESPN contributor on shows such as SportsCenter, Outside the Lines, and Pardon the Interruption. He has also appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.
“An unflinching look at a fascinating mayor, who refused to be defined by the athletic shoes he once wore or the safe paths people expected him to take. An eye-opening read.”
Mitch Albom-- best-selling author and Detroit Free Press columnist
“What Dave has achieved - a great basketball career, success in business, and a prominent political post at a challenging time - speaks to how all athletes should look at, and not limit, themselves. We should always stand for something more than what the box score says about us.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar-- 6-time NBA Most Valuable Player
"Dave Bing's journey from the Basketball Hall of Fame to City Hall is a compelling story with lessons for all of us. His life has spanned one of the most unique and transformative periods of American history. The details of his actions and achievements in the context of the Black experience in Detroit and the United States will inspire and inform readers from all walks of life."
Kevin Johnson-- Mayor of Sacramento, NBA All-Star
“Drew Sharp, a lifelong Detroiter, has followed all of Bing’s careers up close. He has skillfully told the story of this unique and compelling American life, with new insight and depth.”
Michael Rosenberg-- Sports Illustrated
“The Dave Bing story is an extraordinary take on an extraordinary life.”
Joe Dumars-- Hall of Fame NBA star, business entrepreneur and president of the Detroit Pistons