Bob Lanier: NBA Hall of Famer dies at 73

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Eight-time All-Star and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Lanier died Tuesday, the NBA announced. He was 73 years old.

Lanier, who played for 14 years in the NBA, died after a brief illness surrounded by his family, the NBA said in a statement.

“Bob Lanier was a Hall of Fame player and one of the most talented centers in NBA history, but his impact on the league went far beyond what he accomplished on the court. “, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in the statement.

“His enormous influence on the NBA was also seen when he was president of the National Basketball Players Association, where he played a key role in negotiating a groundbreaking collective bargaining agreement.”

Lanier was also the league’s global ambassador for more than 30 years, “travelling the world teaching the values ​​of the game and positively impacting young people around the world,” Silver said.

“We send our deepest condolences to Bob’s family and friends,” Silver added.

The NBA legend played center with “smooth” movements, despite his 6-foot-11 frame, according to his NBA biography. He retired in 1984 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

The Detroit Pistons drafted Lanier out of St. Bonaventure in the 1970 draft with the first overall pick, according to the biography. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team for 1970-71 and averaged 15.6 points that season. He was also named NBA All-Star Most Valuable Player in 1974.

“The Detroit Pistons organization is deeply saddened by the passing of Bob Lanier, a true legend who meant so much to the city of Detroit and to generations of Pistons fans,” Pistons owner Tom Gores said in a statement Wednesday. a statement.

“As fierce and as dominant as Bob was on the court, he was just as kind and hard-hitting in the community,” Gores said. “As an organizational ambassador for the Pistons and the NBA, he represented our league, our franchise and our fans with great passion and integrity.”

Lanier eventually joined the Milwaukee Bucks and led them to five straight regular season division titles.

“I learned so much from Bob just by watching how he connected with people. He was a close friend who I will dearly miss, as will many of his NBA colleagues who were inspired by his generosity,” said Silver.

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