COMMUNITY HISTORY: DAVE BING CARED LONG BEFORE THE NBA!

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Dave Bing of the Washington Bullets goes one on one with former Washington Bullet Earl Monroe. John Wall of the Washington Wizards makes his move.

Dave Bing is a native Washingtonian and an NBA Hall of Fame player. He was named one of the original 50 greatest players of All-Time and he cared long before the NBA and John Wall. Bing was a student/athlete and graduate of Spingarn High School.

Black History is disappearing right before our eyes with the closing of Armstrong and Spingarn high schools. This is a reminder that the DC public school system is the only public school system in the country that can claim they have two NBA Hall of Fame players and two NFL Hall Fame players all from the same city and the same system. Spingarn’s Elgin Baylor (1954) and Dave Bing (1961) and Armstrong’s Len Ford (1946) and Willie Wood (1955) history unmatched.

Sonny Hill a former NBA analyst and Philadelphia playground legend recently said, “DC has produce more great basketball players per capital than any other city in the country.”

You would think with Bing being a native Washingtonian that local media would be aware of his community history. This is what I would call more “Fake News” in local media. They want to bring you the news, but they don’t have a clue so they turn to “Fake News” or no news.

Dave Bing’s success in the NBA and in the community leads back to Kids In Trouble, thousands of kids in the DMV have benefited from the program without loans or grants. Bing said after his NBA rookie year, “Harold you help prepare me for the wars of the NBA!” I also think I help prepare him for the most important game being played in the world today–the Game Called Life. He was just in town several months ago. His mother Mrs. Jaunita Bing died in his adopted hometown of Detroit and he brought her back home for burial.

His childhood friend Roland ‘Fatty’ Taylor died in Denver on December 7, 2017. He was in Denver to lend “A Helping Hand” for the family. Dave orchestrated a second home going celebration for Fatty on Friday December 21, 2017 here in his hometown of DC in a Maryland suburb of Hyattsville. Fatty’s final resting place will be on the grounds of Ft. Lincoln Cemetery on the Maryland—DC line.

Fatty’s home going service brought family and friends together from his old neighborhoods of Foggy Bottom (Georgetown) and his old NE playgrounds of Watts Branch and Kelly Miller. Despite a lack of coverage by local news media, print, radio and television as it relates to notifying family and friends of his death, The first Baptist Church of Highland Park in Hyattsville was still packed and near capacity. Fatty’s home going was “First Class” in every sense of the word. There were several NBA Hall of Fame personalities in attendance, Dave Bing, Sonny Hill, John Thompson and former player Bob Dandridge.
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One major media friend emailed me and said “Thanks for paying tribute to Fatty.” Another writer, Dave McKenna said, “I cannot believe no one wrote anything on Fatty Taylor. His nickname alone deserves a column. I found out too late.”

One friend who covers the NFL and writes for one of the major newspapers said, “Man I have known you for over two decades and I have watched your work in sports media and in the community–you have not changed. Too many of us take things personal, you cannot be in this business and have a thin skin with you around.”

Dave Bing’s generosity giving back is nothing new, 2017 marks the 50th anniversary on his return to Spingarn high school as “The NBA Rookie of the Year” to quell a gun disturbance, a Spingarn student was shot in front of the school after a Friday evening game between Spingarn and rival McKinley Tech.

In 1967 I was working with the Youth Gang Task Force (Roving Leader) for the DC Department of Parks & Recreation. My boss the late Stanley Anderson summoned me to his office and said, “Harold, that is your turf and school check it out”!

Back in the day I was gun-ho and thought I was the straw that stirred the drink.
When I arrived on the scene there were talks of revenge. The school was located on what was once known as “Education Hill” on 24th and Benning Road in NE DC. It was the most unique and a one of a kind school setting in America. ‘The Hill’ is also disappearing right before our eyes—thanks to “Gentrification”.

I tried talking to several of the students, especially the ones with the biggest mouths, but the knuckle heads were not paying me any attention. I decided to take a break and go across the street from the school and get me a hotdog at a small restaurant and student hangout called “Sporty’s”.

When finally got my hotdog I went outside and sat on someone’s steps next to the restaurant. While sitting there some students walked by talking about the NBA All-Star game being played in Baltimore. A light bulb went off in my head and there was Dave Bing’s name in bright lights. Dave was a rookie and having a great year and was voted to the All-Star team.

I decided to drive to Baltimore the next morning (Saturday) to see if I could locate Dave at the arena and God was on my side–he was dressed as a security guard. He directed me to the player’s entrance and about 30 minutes later Dave walks up with teammate Bob Lanier. He was surprised to see me and blurted out “Harold Bell what in the hell are you doing over here?” We shook hands and he introduced me to Bob. He went inside and left me and Dave to talk. I expressed my concerns about the shooting and asked if he could come to Spingarn on Monday morning to talk with the students. He said without hesitation, “No problem lets do it.” I kept my fingers crossed that there would be no retaliation taking place over the weekend.

Monday morning Dave arrives at the school around 10 am and walks into the Spingarn auditorium, there was standing room only, he was given a standing ovation. The reason for the standing ovation, they had just seen him play in the NBA All-Star Game on national television on that Sunday. His words of wisdom brought peace back to the school community.

Dave Bing’s roots have always been firmly planted in the DC community. He was living in Detroit, but his heart was in DC. Our partnership in reaching back together is legendary (as is our disagreements, it was never personal until the cheerleaders who didn’t have a clue added their two-cents to everybody but me).

The community endeavors were many, we use Kids In Trouble, Inc as our platform. There were trips to his basketball camp in the Poconos Mountains, guest visits to the KIT Hillcrest Saturday Program to honor youth basketball, he co-hosted with me a first ever “Thank You” tribute to our Spingarn teachers and administrators who went where there was no path and left a trail for all of us. There were guest appearances on my radio sports talk show “Inside Sports” and a surprise appearance at my 40th wedding anniversary tribute. He is a “Man for All Seasons.”

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When Rev. William Roundtree our Spingarn basketball coach retired from the DC school system he decided to open his own SE Community Center on Good Hope Road in the shadows of Anacostia High School. I volunteered to lend a helping hand, but the struggle to help others and his health gave out. Coach Roundtree died and it was Dave who paid for his home going services.

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Top: Coach Roundtree and Redskin WR Roy Jefferson host toy party for kids
Bottom: Coach and former Spingarn player Byron Kirkley are Santa’s helpers.

When the conversation leads to how much the NBA Cares it should start with Dave Bing. Today’s players lag far behind when it comes to the Man that started it all.

In 1968 the first NFL player who cared was Green Bay Packer defensive back and DC native Willie Wood. Willie and I were working as Roving Leaders for the DC Department of Recreation & Parks. When the riots hit DC on April 4th we were standing on the corner of 9th & U Streets, NW when someone drove by in a car and yelled “Hey Harold they just shot and killed Dr. Martin Luther King in Memphis, Tennessee.” All hell broke loose shortly thereafter. Willie and I would found ourselves on the U street corridor walking arm and arm with the first black modern day U. S. Marshall in-charge, Luke C. Moore. Willie would play his way into the NFL Hall of Fame, Luke C. Moore would later become a sitting judge in the DC Superior Court and I would become a trail blazing pioneer in the community and the first black radio sports talk show host.

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The Washington Redskins would follow Dave and Willie into the community, WR Roy Jefferson, RB Larry Brown, LB Harold McLinton, DB Ted Vactor, LB Dave Robinson and QB Doug Williams would eventually join the Kids In Trouble community reach-back team. Santa’s helpers in the media were led by Petey Greene, actor Robert Hooks, Bill Raspberry and Dave Dupree (Washington Post), Jim Vance, Fred Thomas (WRC-TV 4), Paul Berry and Maureen Bunyan (WJLA TV 7).

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1968 Kids In Trouble first ever toy party. My Virginia Sailor teammate George Kelly is Santa. Willie Wood mailed a box of toys from Green Bay for the party.
SANTA HELPERS & THE JUDGE
Santa Helpers Judge Luke Moore, Redskins’ LB Harold McLinton, LB Dave Robinson and WR Roy Jefferson
The Washington Redskins would follow Dave and Willie into the community, WR Roy Jefferson, RB Larry Brown, LB Harold McLinton, DB Ted Vactor, LB Dave Robinson and QB Doug Williams would eventually join the Kids In Trouble community reach-back team. Santa’s helpers in the media were led by Petey Greene, actor Robert Hooks, Bill Raspberry and Dave Dupree (Washington Post), Jim Vance, Fred Thomas (WRC-TV 4), Paul Berry and Maureen Bunyan (WJLA TV 7).
Pro athletes like Bing, Muhammad Ali, Roy Jefferson, Red Auerbach, Freddy Scott, Lenny Moore, Johnny Sample, Sonny Hill and the late Harold McLinton were givers long before the NBA and NFL decided that they cared.

San Antonio Spurs’ Coach Gregg Popovich when asked why charitable endeavors were important to him. His response was classic, “Because we are as rich as hell, and we don’t need it all and other people need it. You are an ass if you don’t give”—according to Pop, John Wall miss the cut!

https://my.xfinity.com/video/basketball-stars-give-back-this-christmas-with-nba-cares-program/1123678275878/Comcast/TopVideos?cid=sf_vidtray_NBA&tab=Must%20Watch
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Dave returns to the ghetto to pass on words of wisdom while honoring Kids In Trouble youth basketball team (April 1968), several weeks after the DC riots.
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Dave honors KIT MVP Hiawatha Irving as GT Coach John Thompson aka “Big Bad John” looks on (front and center of photo)

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