One of the great NBA centers of the 1970s and an NBA Hall of Famer, Bob Lanier, died yesterday at the age of 73.
Lanier was an eight-time NBA All Star and played fourteen seasons in the NBA before being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992. He attended St. Bonaventure for college, where he led his team to a Final Four appearance in 1970, but after Lanier was injured his team lost to Jacksonville, knocking them out of the tournament. He was then drafted first overall in the 1970 draft by the Detroit Pistons, where he now ranks third on the Pistons’ list in points and in rebounds and is still their franchise leader in average points at 22.7. After his nine full seasons with Detroit, he joined the Milwaukee Bucks where he finished his career. Lanier also coached briefly as an assistant for the Golden State Warriors in the 1994-1995 season, before taking over as the head coach briefly after the resignation of Don Nelson.
After his NBA playing career, Lanier went on to become a global ambassador for the NBA as well as a special assistant to NBA commissioners David Stern and Adam Silver. In a statement, Silver said that Lanier, “travel[ed] the world to teach the game’s values and make a positive impact on young people everywhere. It was a labor of love for Bob, who was one of the kindest and most genuine people I have ever been around.”
Lanier will be remembered as one of the all-time great centers in NBA history, as well as a beloved member of the NBA community for all his work outside of playing.