Syracuse legend Dave Bing living a ‘beautiful life’ in Detroit

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 19, 2018 at 8:26 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21 DETROIT — One day late in the summer of 1962, Jim Boeheim walked into his dorm room on the seventh floor of DellPlain Hall. Dave Bing was already sitting in the room — a freshman settling into his new life, excited for college and the opportunities ahead.“This guy can’t be a basketball player,” Bing thought as his new roommate walked in.“At 6-foot-4 and about 160 pounds, there’s no way I thought he was going to be a good player,” Bing said on Sunday. “But he started in the backcourt with me the last two years, and he’s really had a nice career.”More than five decades after they met in DellPlain, it’s safe to say both have lived plentiful lives. Boeheim rose from walk-on to team captain to SU head coach, a position he’s held for 42 years. Bing, a fellow Class of 1966 graduate, starred for the Orange over his four-year career. He earned All-America honors, led the program in career scoring for 20 years and became SU’s first player to have his uniform retired. He was the No. 2 overall pick in the 1966 NBA Draft and a seven-time NBA All-Star.On Sunday, Bing, 74, sat a few rows from the court as No. 11 seed Syracuse upset No. 3 Michigan State, 55-53, to advance to the Sweet 16. Wearing a Syracuse sweatshirt, he reflected on his time at SU with Boeheim, who credited Bing with teaching him “a lot.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBing reminisced about his years in central New York while chronicling his latest endeavors. Chief among them was his time as mayor of Detroit, a role he served in from 2009-13. He’s in his fourth year leading a mentorship program for underprivileged boys in Detroit.“I love Syracuse,” Bing said as he looked down and smiled at his Syracuse sweatshirt. “Those four years shaped a lot of who I am. It’s a beautiful life.”Courtesy of Dave BingBing grew up in Washington, D.C. with parents who didn’t go to college and struggled at times to pay the bills. He and his three siblings slept two to a bed. He said he suffered a serious left-eye injury when he was young, but his family couldn’t afford surgery. Bing’s vision diminished as a result. Later, while helping his father at a construction site, a brick hit Bing’s head, creating a blood clot in his brain.As he grew older, Bing said he was told by neighborhood kids that he couldn’t play in streetball games because he was too small. He said he played nearly every day, though, and turned into one of the top high school players in the country. UCLA and Michigan grew interested in his game, but he chose Syracuse because Ernie Davis, then a football All-American, urged him to come to SU. Bing confirmed that he also chose a lesser-known program in Syracuse because he doubted himself, what he could do and who he could be.That’s when he ran into Boeheim, and the two formed a friendship that has lasted 56 years. Bing said Boeheim slept “all of the time” in their room and didn’t like going to class. But he studied for exams all night, Bing said, and did well on them. Then he’d sleep “the next two days straight,” Bing said.On Saturday, Boeheim recalled their first day of basketball practice that fall, 1962, in Manley Field House.“He taught me an awful lot,” Boeheim said. “Although the first day of practice, I thought I was pretty good, I guarded him, he had 15-straight baskets against me. And I called my mom. I said, ‘Mom, I don’t know about this situation.’ My mom was pretty smart. She said, ‘Well, how about the other players?’ I said, ‘They’re not that good.’ ‘Then you’ll be OK.’“He taught me how to do a lot of things that have helped me in life, really the most mature, most well-rounded individual that I’ve ever been around in my life,” Boeheim continued. “And made a huge impact on me. I was from Lyons, New York, 5,000 people. I didn’t know who The Supremes were when I came into my room.”Bing’s years with Boeheim paved the way for his latest ambitions. He became mayor of Detroit because he wanted to help the struggling city, which in 2013 became the largest city in United States history to file for bankruptcy. Shortly after he left office later that year, he started the Bing Youth Institute, a youth mentorship program.He started the organization for many reasons, he said. He didn’t think there were more than 100 black students on SU’s campus in the 1960s. He wanted to help black and underprivileged children be successful.In 2014, his program had about 40 students in six schools. There are now about 120 students in the program, he said, and he wants to keep expanding. Bing drives 20 minutes every morning to his downtown Detroit office to lead the organization. He helps match students with adult men in the community, because he said many of the students in his organization do not have a father in their lives.“When I was mayor, all over the city, you saw the level of education our kids had,” Bing said. “I knew without it, they were not going to be able to be competitive in the real world. Most of these kids come from a single-parent home. For most of them, nobody thought they were going to be successful. Now we have 19 high school seniors, and 17 of them are going to college. It’s been a great turnaround.”SU ArchivesBing’s connections to Boeheim and Syracuse didn’t stray too far from his heart. He stays in touch with many of his former teammates. This summer, he’ll take a three-week vacation to Africa with former teammates George Hicker and Chuck Richards.He received texts Sunday from friends in the Detroit area asking why he was wearing a Syracuse shirt, not a shirt supporting Michigan State, which is about 90 minutes from Detroit. Bing replied by writing, “I went to Syracuse!”Minutes after Syracuse beat TCU on Friday night, Boeheim walked over to the other side of the court to wave at Bing. On Saturday and Sunday, they recounted the life lessons they’ve learned from each other. They’ve left fingerprints all over the game, and their divergent paths crisscrossed again on Sunday afternoon.“I’m a people person,” Bing said. “A lot of people gave Jimmy (Boeheim) a lot of heat because he didn’t look like an athlete. He didn’t have a scholarship his first year. People made fun of him. I said, ‘You never have to worry about that. Things will turn around and you’re going to be OK. Just be a good person in life.’” Commentslast_img

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