After his victory became official, Bing held a brief press conference downstairs at the Doubletree. Somebody asked him if he would reach out to the unions. "It needs to be reciprocal," Bing said. "They have painted me as a bad guy, and somebody who doesn't care about people."
He was miffed. Why would they say that? True, Bing had terminated 16 of the city's 51 union contracts. And he laid off more than 400 people. And he hinted that he was just getting started. But firing people ... what the heck did that have to do with caring about them?
Hadn't these union leaders ever heard of George Trapp? He was one of Bing's Pistons teammates, and after they both retired, Bing hired Trapp to work for one of his auto-parts companies. Trapp wasn't getting his work done. Bing fired him.
What about Campy Russell? He was another friend from Bing's NBA days. Bing hired and fired him too.
Curtis Rowe, same thing: He played most of his career with Bing, went to work for him at Bing Steel, then got fired.
Bing told them all, and dozens of others, when they were hired: Do your work or you're gone. It needs to be reciprocal. If they wanted a free ride, they were on the wrong train.
They should have known that about Bing. Where was his free ride when he ran down a street in his Washington, D.C., neighborhood, tripped and fell, and a nail plunged into his left eye? He was five years old. He has had fuzzy vision in that eye ever since.
He earned a basketball scholarship to Syracuse with that bad eye, became the second pick of the 1966 NBA draft, made three All-Star teams. Then, in a 1971 preseason game with the Pistons, Bing got poked in his right eye. He had a detached retina. People said his career was over. Who plays guard in the NBA with two bad eyes? Bing came back three months later.
His old teammates say he was never the same player again after the eye injury. He had blind spots in his field of vision. It was most apparent on the fast break, when he couldn't even see some open teammates. No, Dave Bing was not the same player after that second eye injury. But he did play seven more years and make four more All-Star teams.