Bob Lanier, the left-handed large man who muscled up beside the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as one of many NBA’s prime gamers of the Seventies, died Tuesday. He was 73.
The NBA stated in an announcement that the legendary middle died after a brief sickness. The Corridor of Famer and eight-time All-Star had labored for the league as a worldwide ambassador.
Lanier performed 14 seasons with the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks and averaged 20.1 factors and 10.1 rebounds per recreation. He’s third on the Pistons’ profession record in each factors and rebounds. Detroit drafted Lanier with the No. 1 general decide in 1970 after he led St. Bonaventure to the Last 4.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver stated Lanier was among the many most gifted facilities in league historical past and added that his accomplishments went far past what he did on the courtroom.
“For greater than 30 years, Bob served as our world ambassador and as a particular assistant to David Stern after which me, touring the world to show the sport’s values and make a optimistic influence on younger individuals all over the place,” Silver stated in an announcement. “It was a labor of affection for Bob, who was one of many kindest and most real individuals I’ve ever been round.”
Lanier went into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Corridor of Fame in 1992, however his formidable sneakers received there forward of him, with a show of his bronzed sneakers within the shrine.
He was recognized for carrying dimension 22 sneakers, though that was disputed in 1989 by a Converse consultant, who instructed The Atlanta Structure that Lanier wore dimension 18½.
“The 22 he was reputed to put on was a Korean dimension,” shoe rep Gary Stoken stated.
Not contested was the abundantly clear incontrovertible fact that his ft had been large.
“Lots of people can put each ft into considered one of my sneakers,” Lanier instructed HOOP journal.
Born Sept. 10, 1948, in Buffalo, New York, Lanier starred at St. Bonaventure, the place he averaged 27.6 factors and 15.7 rebounds per recreation in three seasons. The Bonnies made it to the Last 4 in 1970, however Lanier had injured his knee within the regional remaining and St. Bonaventure misplaced within the nationwide semifinals to Jacksonville.
Lanier overcame a litany of orthopedic accidents, coping with shoulder, again, elbow, hand and toe issues throughout his profession. However that did not stop him from incomes his place among the many prime NBA facilities of his period. After being named to the All-Rookie Staff in 1971, he averaged not less than 21 factors and 11 rebounds per recreation for every of the following seven seasons. Lanier was MVP of the 1974 All-Star Recreation.
He stays the Pistons’ franchise chief in scoring common at 22.7 factors per recreation, beloved in Detroit for each his fierceness and friendliness.
“As fierce and as dominant as Bob was on the courtroom, he was equally variety and impactful locally,” the Pistons stated. “As an envoy for each the Pistons group and the NBA, he represented our league, our franchise and our followers with nice ardour and integrity. We lengthen our heartfelt condolences to Bob’s household and pals.”
Lanier may beat opponents from the within and outdoors whereas ruling the boards. Though Abdul-Jabbar had a extra well-known hook shot, the sky hook, Lanier’s was very a lot a weapon.
“Guys did not change groups as a lot, so whenever you had been dealing with the Bulls or the Bucks or New York, you had all these rivalries,” Lanier instructed NBA.com in 2018. “Lanier towards Jabbar! Jabbar towards Willis Reed! After which [Wilt] Chamberlain and Artis Gilmore and Invoice Walton! You had all these nice large males, and the sport was performed from inside out.”
As distinctive as Lanier was, the Pistons gained just one playoff collection with him. He performed 64 video games or fewer in every of his remaining 4 full seasons with Detroit. In February 1980, he was traded to Milwaukee.
Lanier averaged fewer minutes with the Bucks, however he was a part of Milwaukee groups that reached the Jap Convention finals in 1983 and 1984, the ultimate two seasons of his profession.
“Much more than his basketball success, which included his being an All-Star in 1982, Bob was some of the fashionable gamers with Bucks followers and recognized all through the neighborhood for his generosity and kindness,” the Bucks stated in an announcement.
He additionally served as president of the gamers’ union through the remaining years of his profession, with Silver saying he performed “a key function within the negotiation of a game-changing collective bargaining settlement.”
Lanier was Detroit’s profession chief in factors and rebounds earlier than he was handed by Isiah Thomas and Invoice Laimbeer in these classes, and his single-game franchise document of 33 rebounds was topped by Dennis Rodman.
In 1995, Lanier was an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, and he took over as coach on an interim foundation after Don Nelson resigned. Lanier went 12-25, and the Warriors discovered one other coach after the season.
Lanier gained the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for the 1977–78 season for excellent neighborhood service. Following his taking part in profession, he helped begin the NBA’s Keep in Faculty marketing campaign and took part in different outreach for the league.
“There’s a lot want out right here,” Lanier stated. “While you’re touring round to totally different cities and totally different international locations, you see there are such a lot of individuals in dire straits that the NBA can solely accomplish that a lot. We make an enormous, huge distinction, however there’s all the time a lot extra to do. “
The Related Press contributed to this report.