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When he reached retirement age, Dave Bing got himself a job he never wanted.
Mayor of Detroit? He wanted no part of it. "I really didn't want him to do it," his wife, Yvette, says.
"None of us wanted him to do it," adds one of his three daughters, Cassaundra.
For years Bing's old Syracuse roommate, Jim Boeheim, now the Orange's coach, would ask him about going into politics, and Bing would reply, "I'm not crazy."
Is he crazy now? He wonders sometimes. He admits this with a half grin and a gleam in his eye, as though he might ask for a recount of the elections he won.
When Bing told his old NBA pals that he might run for mayor, he might as well have said there were squirrels living on Neptune and talking to him through his toaster. Like his family, the former players wondered if he'd lost his mind. Fellow Hall of Famer Joe Dumars asked, Why now? Bing had resisted the call of politics when he was a younger man and Detroit was a more hopeful place. Now he was running? His former Pistons teammate Bob Lanier asked him point-blank, What the heck are you thinking?
"He said, 'Big Fella, I believe I can make a difference,'" Lanier says. "I said, 'If you believe it, then I'm with you. But be careful what you wish for.'"
An old friend, Charlie Beckham, who now occupies an office a few feet away from Bing's and is considered the political brains of the Bing administration, compares Bing's run for mayor to a plane taking off. By the time his candidacy had left the ground, it was too late for him to get off. "I don't know that by the time he did it, he had made the 100 percent decision," Beckham says. "A lot of it got forced just because we ran out of time."
VOTE FOR BING: THE PAPERWORK IS ALREADY FILED.