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Bob Lanier, the left-handed massive man who muscled up beside the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as one of many NBA’s high gamers of the Seventies, died Tuesday. He was 73.
The NBA mentioned 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 world ambassador.
Lanier performed 14 seasons with the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks and averaged 20.1 factors and 10.1 rebounds for his profession. 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 mentioned Lanier’s accomplishments went far past what he did on the court docket.
“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 folks in every single place,” Silver mentioned in an announcement. “It was a labor of affection for Bob, who was one of many kindest and most real folks I’ve ever been round.”
Lanier went into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Corridor of Fame in 1992. However his formidable sneakers bought there forward of him, with a show of his bronzed sneakers within the shrine.
He was recognized for sporting measurement 22 sneakers, though that was disputed in 1989 by a Converse consultant, who advised The Atlanta Structure that Lanier wore measurement 18½.
“The 22 he was reputed to put on was a Korean measurement,” shoe rep Gary Stoken mentioned.
Not contested was the abundantly clear proven fact that his ft had been massive.
“Lots of people can put each ft into one in all my sneakers,” Lanier advised HOOP journal.
Born Sept. 10, 1948, in Buffalo, New York, Lanier starred in faculty at St. Bonaventure, the place he averaged 27.6 factors and 15.7 rebounds in three seasons. The Bonnies made all of it the best way to the Last 4 in 1970, however Lanier had injured his knee within the regional ultimate, 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 forestall him from incomes his place among the many high NBA facilities of his period. After being named to the All-Rookie Workforce in 1971, he averaged no less than 21 factors and 11 rebounds for every of the subsequent seven seasons. Lanier was MVP of the 1974 All-Star Sport.
Lanier might beat opponents from the within and the skin 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 while you had been going through the Bulls or the Bucks or New York, you had all these rivalries,” Lanier advised NBA.com in 2018. “Lanier in opposition to Jabbar! Jabbar in opposition to Willis Reed! After which [Wilt] Chamberlain, and Artis Gilmore and Invoice Walton! You had all these nice massive 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 ultimate 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.
He additionally served as president of the gamers’ union in the course of the ultimate years of his profession.
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 file of 33 rebounds was topped by Dennis Rodman.
In 1995, Lanier was an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, and he then 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 enjoying profession, he helped begin the NBA’s Keep in College marketing campaign and took part in different outreach for the league.
“There’s a lot want out right here,” Lanier mentioned. “While you’re touring round to totally different cities and totally different international locations, you see there are such a lot of folks in dire straits that the NBA can solely achieve this 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.
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