ORLANDO — Dave Bing needs no introduction, but here’s a quick recap: He’s one of the greatest Detroit Pistons of all time, making six All-Star games with the organization from 1966-75, was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990 and named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996.
Bing is also an respected local business man, elected mayor of Detroit from 2009-13.
His latest accomplishment? Being named to the NBA’s 75th anniversary team in 2021 and was honored during the 2022 All-Star Game in Cleveland.
The Free Press spoke with Bing on Tuesday to discuss the exclusive NBA club he’s now apart of, his respect for fellow Washington D.C. native Pistons general manager Troy Weaver and more.
What was it like to make the NBA 75 and be honored alongside so many other legendary players?
When you look back on your career, as an active player the big thing is making the All-Star team. But once your career is over, being elected into the Hall of Fame is really huge. But I do think that the top 50 and top 75, it really tops everything because when you’re compared with all the players that played in the NBA over that 75-year period, and they have you as one of the top 75 players, to me, that’s the biggest honor that I think I can receive.
Being there in Cleveland, being able to share the floor during that ceremony with so many Hall of Famers in the room at once, what was that experience like?
You go back and you think about your career and the guys you played against and in some cases played with. That was huge because now, we don’t see each other at all. And then, a lot of the active players who are part of the 75, a lot of those guys I had never met before. Having the chance to meet them and say hello and congratulate them, that was really special. It’s something that I think all of us who were there will remember the rest of our lives.
The Pistons are in the beginning stages of a rebuild, but Troy Weaver has come inand reshaped the roster. What do you think of the job he has done and the direction the team is trending toward?
Troy has done an outstanding job. He had a hell of a resume before he got here, and he’s made some hell of a moves. The draft class of last year, and this year, because when you really look at it, some of the trades that he made to get some of the players from last year, who are in their second year this year, they’re all performing pretty well. To get Cade (Cunningham), and then I think a big deal was (Marvin) Bagley. When you really look at this team from top to bottom, I’m not surprised that they’re playing as well as they’re playing right now. They’re still learning, they’re still growing. Troy has done an outstanding job, and they’re probably going to get, in this year, one of the top five college players. And then I think (Blake) Griffin’s salary comes off the books, so they’re going to have a lot of money to go out and look at different kinds of players. But they’re deep. This kid (Isaiah) Livers, I hadn’t seen him play much and I’m impressed with him. They’ve got probably nine to 10 very, very good players and I think after this year, the pressure will be on coach Dwane Casey because people’s expectations for this team is going to go up dramatically. And I think they’re going to be a playoff contending team next year.
What else has stood out to you about the team recently?
I want to say that the Pistons are doing a really good job. They see themselves as an asset to this community, and I think they’ve really done an outstanding job making sure not only the team comes to the city of Detroit, but get engaged in the community doing a lot of different things. I am really pleased to see that, because when you compare the Pistons to a lot of other franchises, I’m not sure that a lot of other franchises make the kind of commitments that the Pistons are making to the city of Detroit. So I’m really happy about that.
You’re not only a former player, but also as a former mayor of Detroit. To see Tom Goes move the team back downtown and all of the community initiatives the team has participated in — for example, building basketball courts across the city and honoring Rosa Parks by providing free bus fares and wrapping busses in Rosa Parks-themed artwork — does that stand out more for you given the connection you have to the city?
I see it from a different perspective. It’s not just about basketball. You want to have a good team, you want to have a competitive team, you want to have a winning team, but to get the organization and to get these active players engaged and involved in the city is something that’s important to the Pistons organization. And I give them real props for that.
You were born and raised in Washington DC, and Troy Weaver is a Washington DC guy as well. Were you familiar with him before he was hired?
Yes. He’s much younger than me, but we’re from the same area. He’s got a Syracuse connection, he’s got a DC connection. We are connected. I’m happy for him. I’m proud of him and what he’s doing, and I’m not surprised with all of the success that he’s having. You not only have Troy, you have (Jerami) Grant who’s from the DC area and Syracuse. You’ve got (Rodney) McGruder, who’s also a DC guy. You’ve got (Frank) Jackson. Troy knows basketball. He knows talent. And he understands how to put all of this together. He’s given coach Casey a good group of players to work with, and Casey is an outstanding coach. He’s a teacher. One of the things I say about him is he’s got patience. He works with his players, he doesn’t push them beyond what he thinks they can do. He lets them develop as a person and as a player. From a leadership standpoint between Troy and between Casey, we’re very, very lucky.
Contact Omari Sankofa II at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. The Free Press now has a digital subscription model. Here’s how you can access to our most exclusive Pistons content. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.