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DETROIT (AP) â¿¿ In basketball and in business, Dave Bing never side-stepped a challenge.
But the overwhelming weight of Detroit's financial problems and other troubles faced by the former manufacturing hub have convinced the former NBA great, steel supply company founder and first-term mayor that he may have to pass control of the city over to the state.
In doing do, Detroit would be in line to become the largest city in the country to fail and be taken over by state government. Bing grudgingly sees such a handoff as an extension of his service to the 700,000 Detroit residents looking to him for leadership.
"An emergency manager can't come in here and run this city without the help and support of teammates," Bing told The Associated Press in an interview this week. "I'll be a teammate. My executive staff will be a teammate. What we need to figure out is not fighting the person but how do we get along to make wins for the citizens in the city of Detroit."
The 69-year-old mayor has been swept up in the vortex of despair that has come to symbolize much of Detroit during the past few years. To some, the city's failings represent Bing's failure in his third career choice.
He spent a dozen Hall of Fame years as a high-scoring guard in the NBA, including nine individually successful seasons with the hometown Pistons. His Bing Group automotive supply and manufacturing companies provided hundreds of jobs in a city with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.
But "his legacy as a politician is not a very good one," said Adolph Mongo, a Detroit political analyst. "You can't run a city like you run a company. You need someone that's politically savvy enough to surround himself with CEOs who will allow him to navigate the political land mines."