Bob Lanier, a standout center for the Detroit Pistons and the Milwaukee Bucks, died this past Tuesday (May 10). According to the NBA, Lanier passed after experiencing a short illness.
As seen on NBA.com, Lanier, born Robert Jerry Lanier Jr. on September 10, 1948, got his start on the hardwood as an undecorated high school player in Buffalo, N.Y. ahead of going on to attend St. Bonaventure University. He was selected No. 1 overall in 1970 by the Detroit Pistons after leading St. Bonaventure to the NCAA Final Four.
Across 14 seasons playing for the Pistons and later the Milwaukee Bucks, Lanier averaged 20.1 points and 10.1 boards over the course of his career. Lanier was an eight-time NBA All-Star, and NBA All-Star MVP, and made the All-Rookie First Team. After retiring, Lanier served on the coaching staff for the Golden State Warriors and was an ambassador for the game globally.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the following statement:
“Bob Lanier was a Hall of Fame player and among the most talented centers in the history of the NBA, but his impact on the league went far beyond what he accomplished on the court. For more than 30 years, Bob served as our global ambassador and as a special assistant to David Stern and then me, traveling 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. His enormous influence on the NBA was also seen during his time as President of the National Basketball Players Association, where he played a key role in the negotiation of a game-changing collective bargaining agreement.
“I learned so much from Bob by simply watching how he connected with people. He was a close friend who I will miss dearly, as will so many of his colleagues across the NBA who were inspired by his generosity. We send our deepest condolences to Bob’s family and friends.”
Lanier was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992 and later served as an assistant and interim coach for the Warriors.
Bob Lanier was 73.