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David Bing

NBA Hall of Famer and Former Detroit Mayor Dave Bing ’66 to Speak at Syracuse University on Feb. 17

January 27, 2023

The legendary athlete will reflect on his past experiences, current challenges and work to uplift Black youth.

The Maxwell School of Syracuse University is proud to welcome alumnus Dave Bing ’66 B.A. (Econ), H’06 at 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17, for a discussion that will touch on many of the themes in his 2020 autobiography “Attacking the Rim: My Journey from NBA Legend to Business Leader to Big-City Mayor to Mentor.”

Renewing Democratic Community Lecture Series Presents:
“Attacking the Rim”
A Conversation with Dave Bing ’66

RSVP by Feb. 15 >

The moderated discussion will be held in the Maxwell School Auditorium. Free and open to the public, it will be followed by a reception where attendees will have an opportunity to meet Bing. 

Bing grew up in inner-city Washington, D.C., and was recruited to Syracuse University by football legends Ernie Davis ’62 and John Mackey ’63 B.A. (Hist). He and classmate Sam Penceal ’66 were the only Black players on the team and among only 100 or so Black students on campus. He became lifelong friends with roommate and teammate Jim Boeheim ’66 B.A. (Hist)/’73 M.S.Sc., now head coach of the men’s basketball team. With the fifth highest scoring average in the nation, he earned a spot on the All-American team.

In 1966, Bing was drafted second overall by the Detroit Pistons, and later played for the Washington Bullets and Boston Celtics. One of the most celebrated players of his era, the NBA named him to its Hall of Fame and in 1996 designated him one of its 50 greatest players of all time. In 2021, he was named to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.

After retiring from basketball, Bing joined a Detroit steel company in a two-year training program. As he learned the business, he increasingly felt confident he could start his own business processing steel for Michigan’s auto manufacturers. Bing Steel earned him the National Minority Small Business Person of the Year award in 1984. He grew the business from four employees to more than 1,400, with $300 million in annual sales.

Dave Bing and Jim Boeheim
Dave Bing goes up for a shot as Jim Boeheim, right, looks up during a game in the 1965-66 season. Bing and Boeheim, now head coach of the men's basketball team, formed a lifelong friendship as teammates and roommates at the University. 

Bing sold the company in 2007 and was enlisted to run for mayor. He took office in May 2009 as the city faced debt, a shrinking population, high unemployment and failing infrastructure.

After leading the city through the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history, Bing turned from politics to philanthropy, founding the Bing Youth Institute, a nonprofit focused on mentoring Black boys in Detroit. Since its inception in 2014, the program and its mentorship program called BINGO has served six graduating classes and has a 100-percent high school graduation rate; 80 percent of the students are in college.

Bing’s talk is part of the Renewing Democratic Community Speaker Series that celebrates the creation of the Hicker Family Professorship with a generous gift from Bing’s former Orange teammate, George Hicker ’68 B.A. (PSc), and his wife, Kathy. Chris Faricy, associate professor of political science and the inaugural Hicker Family Professor in Renewing Democratic Community, will moderate the 90-minute discussion.

“Dave Bing is a Maxwell School alum who embodies the principles of democratic citizenship,” says Faricy. “I look forward to discussing his views on civil rights and basketball, his call to duty as the mayor of Detroit and his philanthropic work producing the next generation of leaders,” says Faricy. “His life is a lesson in how hard work, persistence and dedication to community can overcome setbacks and led to unprecedented success.”

Copies of Bing’s book will be available for purchase at the event.

Those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP by Wednesday, Feb. 15. Parking is available at Irving Garage. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) will be available at the event. For additional accommodations, please email Bethany Walawender at

For the latest updates, including any health updates for visiting campus, visit the Maxwell School’s events calendar.

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