You could say that Dave Bing is a celebrity politician. But Detroit’s mayor is so mild-mannered, it’s easy to forget that he’s a Hall of Fame basketball star who was drafted second overall in 1966, earned Rookie of the Year honors, and played in the NBA for 12 seasons—most of them, naturally, with the Detroit Pistons. The league chose him as one of its 50 greatest players in 1996, and the Pistons retired his number.
But that’s all history. When Detroiters elected Dave Bing to the city’s top office four years ago, it wasn’t because of his fame. It was because he was boring.
While the state of Michigan appears to have no interest in “bailing out” Detroit, it is giving a substantial boost to the Red Wings, the city’s professional hockey team. Less than a week after the city filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in history, a press conference revealed a deal that will transform 45 blocks of the city with a new hockey arena (or “events center,” as the jargon goes) and a mixed-use entertainment district meant to link two of the city’s healthiest neighborhoods—downtown and Midtown.