Bob Lanier was one of the few big men in the NBA who could go toe-to-toe with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Lanier was one of the top players in the league in the 1970s. His Hall of Fame career is legendary among fans of the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks. Sadly, Bob passed away on Tuesday.
ESPN reports that Bob Lanier had suffered from a short illness. At the time of his death, he was working for the NBA as a global ambassador. NBA commissioner Adam Silver remembered the all-time great in a statement.
“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.”
Bob Lanier’s career started at St. Bonaventure, where he led the Bonnies to the Final Four. He was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 1970 with the number one overall pick. From there, he averaged 20.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game for his career.
Lanier was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992. It was a tribute to one of the best big men to ever play the game. Bob’s 14-year career saw him play in eight All-Star games and his number is retired by both the Pistons and the Bucks.
Bob Lanier was a one-of-a-kind talent. He will be sorely missed by the basketball community. Everyone at Thirsty is keeping his friends, family, teammates, and all of those he touched in our thoughts.