Mel Daniels, enshrined as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012, has passed away at the age of 71.
“Mel Daniels will forever be remembered as an icon of Indiana basketball,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “As a superstar of the ABA’s Indiana Pacers, he gave the basketball-centric state three championships, but more importantly he was engrained in the Indiana community. Always one to offer a firm handshake and a smile, Mr. Daniels will truly be missed.”
After a standout career at the University of New Mexico where Daniels averaged double figures in points and rebounds all three seasons, he landed in the upstart American Basketball Association in 1967 and earned Rookie of the Year honors. A six-foot-nine-inch post presence, Daniels was an agile scorer and ferocious rebounder filling up the stat sheets for eight ABA seasons. Daniels led the ABA in rebounding for three seasons, including a career high of 18 rebounds per game in 1970-71. He is the ABA’s all-time leading rebounder and ranks fourth in scoring, having averaged a double-double for his career. Daniels was a seven-time ABA All Star and was named All-ABA First Team four years in a row starting in 1968. A two-time ABA MVP, Daniels won three ABA championships with the Indiana Pacers.