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BY Abu Mubarik, 5:20pm June 25, 2024,

How this NBA legend turned a $15K rookie contract into a $300M empire after his career was cut short

Dave Bing. Photo via NBA.com

Meet Dave Bing; he was a scoring machine in the NBA during his time with the Detroit Pistons, Washington Bullets and Boston Celtics in the 1960s and ’70s. Selected second overall by the Pistons in the 1966 NBA Draft, his first professional contract was $15,000 per year.

His flourishing career in the NBA also saw him sign a three-year, $500,000 contract with the Bullets and a three-year, $450,000 deal with the Pistons, according to Talk Sport. Bing was very diligent when it came to his finances, as he had big plans for his retirement. As part of his pre-retirement plan, he spent his offseasons with the Pistons reading, teaching himself finance and deal-making while working in Detroit for a bank. His career in the NBA was cut short after being told his retina had become partially detached.

After retiring from the NBA, he worked at a steel processing company called Paragon Steel, receiving $35,000. He left the company after two years to start his own business venture, marking his journey in the field of entrepreneurship.

He founded Bing Steel in 1980 with $80,000 in savings from his NBA career and a $250,000 loan. However, after just six months of operation, he lost all his money. After pivoting from manufacturing to processing, the company landed clients like General Motors, leading to the exponential growth of Bing Steel.

It grew to become one of the biggest African-American-owned industrial companies in the U.S. with annual sales of $61 million.

Bing rebranded the company into The Bing Group, which supplies metal stampings to the automobile industry. The self-made industrial magnate built a factory in one of Michigan’s deprived communities in order to provide local jobs for citizens.

He further acquired Superb Manufacturing, a $28 million-per-year metal-stamping company and a small construction firm. However, in 2009, he sold his company, which was bringing in $300 million in annual sales with over 1000 employees.

This, he did, to focus on politics. He was first elected to finish the term of former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick who resigned and then re-elected to a full term in November of 2009. He decided not to run for re-election in 2013.

In 1984, he was named National Minority Small Business Person of the Year by President Ronald Reagan. In 2009, he received the National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award, for his contributions to civil and human rights, according to TalkSport.

Bing’s journey in the NBA began when he was drafted by the Pistons and in his first year in the league, he became an instant hit, being named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year in 1967.

His remarkable performance saw him starring in seven NBA All-Star Games and winning the exhibition’s MVP award in 1976. What is more, he averaged over 20 points and six assists per game, according to Talk Sport.

However, his flourishing career in the NBA was cut short by an eye injury he suffered when he was growing up as a child. Then five years old, he reportedly tripped and accidentally poked his left eye with a rusty nail. Bing suffered fuzzy vision in that eye afterward and following increasing struggles with his vision, he eventually retired after the 1977-78 campaign. He scored 18,327 points and dished out 5,397 assists and when he retired, his No. 21 jersey was retired by the Pistons.

He was subsequently inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and was named to the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary All-Time Teams, joining other NBA greats like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and LeBron James.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 25, 2024

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