Bob Lanier, a left-handed giant who became muscular next to something like Kareem Abdul Jabber as one of the top NBA players in the 1970s, died on Tuesday. He was 73 years old.
According to the NBA, Lanier died of a short illness. The Hall of Famer worked as a global ambassador in the league. Athletic reported in 2019 that Lanier was being treated for bladder cancer.
Lanier played for Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks for 14 seasons, averaging 20.1 points and 10.1 rebounds in his career. He is third on the Pistons career list, both in points and rebounds. Detroit drafted Lanier in 1st place overall in 1970 after leading the St. Bona Venture to the Final Four.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver added that Lanier is one of the most talented centers in league history and his achievements go far beyond what he did in court.
“For over 30 years, Bob has traveled the world as our global ambassador, and as David Stern, and as a special assistant to me, to teach the value of the game and have a positive impact on young people around the world. I did, “Silver said in a statement. “This was a love effort for Bob, one of the kindest and realest people I have ever met.”
Lanier was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992. However, his boat-sized shoes arrived in front of him, exhibiting bronze sneakers at the shrine.
He was known to wear size 22 shoes, but in 1989 a representative of Converse disputed and Lanier told the Atlanta Constitution that he was wearing size 18 1/2.
“The 22 that he was reputed to be wearing was Korean size,” said shoe clerk Gary Stoken.
The abundantly obvious fact that his legs were big was not disputed.
“Many people can put both feet in one of my shoes,” Lanier told HOOP magazine.
Born September 10, 1948 in Buffalo, New York, Lanier starred at the University of Saint Bonaventure, averaging 27.6 points and 15.7 rebounds in three seasons. Bonnie advanced to the final four in 1970, but Lanier injured his knee in the regional final and St. Bonaventure lost in the Jacksonville national semifinals.
During his career, Lanier addressed shoulder, back, elbow, hand, and toe problems and overcame a series of orthopedic injuries. But that didn’t prevent him from gaining his position among the top NBA centers of his time. After being named to the All-Rookie Team in 1971, he averaged at least 21 points and 11 rebounds in each of the next seven seasons. Lanier was an eight-time All-Star and MVP of the 1974 All-Star Game.
He continues to be the Pistons franchise leader with an average of 22.7 points per game and is loved in Detroit for both his ferociousness and friendliness.
“He was equally kind and influential in the community because he was as fierce and dominant as Bob was in court,” Pistons said. “As an ambassador to both the Pistons organization and the NBA, he represented our leagues, franchises and fans with great passion and integrity. We would like to extend our deepest condolences to Bob’s family and friends.”
Lanier was able to defeat enemies from the inside and outside while controlling the board. Abdul Jabbar had a more famous hook shot, Sky Hook, but Lanier was a very weapon.
“The guys didn’t change the team so much, so when we faced the Bulls, Bucks and New York, we had all these rivals,” Lanier told the NBA.com in 2018. Jabber against Willis Reed! And (Wilt) Chamberlain, Artis Gilmore, Bill Walton! You have all these great tycoons and the game was played inside out. “
Like Lanier, the Pistons won only one playoff series with him. He has played less than 64 games in each of the last four seasons in Detroit. In February 1980 he was traded to Milwaukee.
Although Lanier had a low average fraction with Bucks, he was part of the Milwaukee team and reached the finals of the Eastern Conference in 1983 and 1984, the last two seasons of his career.
He also served as chairman of the players’ union for the last few years of his career, saying Silver “played an important role in negotiating a game-changing collective bargaining agreement.”
Lanier was Detroit’s career leader in points and rebounds, but was overtaken by Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer in these categories, and his 33-rebound single-game franchise record was topped by Dennis Rodman.
In 1995, Lanier was an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors and tentatively took over as coach after Don Nelson resigned. Lanier went 12-25 and the Warriors found another coach after the season.
Lanier was awarded the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for his outstanding community service during the 1977-78 season. Following his playing career, he helped launch the NBA’s Stay in School campaign and participated in other outreach in the league.
“There are a lot of needs here,” said Lanier. “When traveling to different cities and countries, we find that there are so many people in dire situations that the NBA can’t do much. We make a huge difference, but we do. There is always a lot to do. “
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