Springfield, Mass. – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame celebrates the life and mourns the passing of legendary center Bob Lanier. Enshrined as a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992, Mr. Lanier has passed away at the age of 73.
“Bob Lanier loved the game of basketball and truly made the game his life’s work,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “He was one of the friendliest and authentic people we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with and he never seemed to ever have a bad day. He served as a mentor to innumerous players around the league and was a tremendous steward for the game through his work in growing the sport, both at home and abroad. He will be tremendously missed by the entire Hall of Fame family.”
With a sweeping left-hand hook and a dominating inside presence, Lanier was one of the most feared big men of his era. Opposing centers had to keep a watchful eye on him due to his equally impressive outside game. Lanier’s sweet shooting touch from the perimeter placed him in a rarified class of being a true inside/outside force. This ability, combined with his single-minded determination to win, helped Lanier lead tiny St. Bonaventure University to the 1970 NCAA Final Four. Lanier still holds school records for scoring (27.6 ppg) and rebounding (15.7 rpg). During his 14-year NBA career with the Detroit Pistons (1970-1980) and Milwaukee Bucks (1980-84), he was a model of consistency averaging double figures in points and rebounds for his career. Selected with the first overall pick of the 1970 NBA Draft by the Pistons, Lanier was named to the NBA's All-Rookie team in 1971 and earned MVP honors for his 24-point, 10-rebound performance at the 1974 NBA All Star Game.
Following his playing career, Lanier served as a Global Ambassador and as a Special Assistant to NBA Commissioners David Stern and Adam Silver for over 30 years, traveling the world to teach the game’s values and make a positive impact on young people everywhere.
Even prior to his induction into the Hall of Fame in 1992, Lanier, who was known for wearing size 22 shoes, had a bronze pair of his sneakers displayed in the museum.
About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was born, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and celebrating the game of basketball at every level – men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches and contributors, both domestically and internationally. The Hall of Fame Museum is home to more than 400 inductees and over 40,000 square feet of basketball history. Nearly 200,000 people visit the Hall of Fame Museum each year to learn about the game, experience the interactive exhibits and test their skills on the Jerry Colangelo "Court of Dreams." Best known for its annual marquee Enshrinement Ceremony honoring the game’s elite, the Hall of Fame also operates over 70 high school and collegiate competitions annually throughout the country and abroad. For more information on the Basketball Hall of Fame organization, its museum and events, visit www.hoophall.com, follow @hoophall @hoophallclassic or call 1-877-4HOOPLA.