Bob Lanier. His high-profile career with the Detroit Pistons in the 1970s was hampered by injuries and his ambition to die, he died at the age of 73, the NBA announced Tuesday night.
Lanier, taken No. 1 all by Pistons in 1970 from St. Bonaventure, was a 10-time champion with a permit, 22.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 681 games in Detroit. He then played five seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks while hunting for a race that kept him out of all competitions and pro. He finished his NBA career in 1984 with 20.1 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists.
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Eight-year-old Lanier was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992. This happened despite sustaining serious injuries to eight knees, including one before signing his rookie contract with the Pistons. ACL tears injured in St. The victory of the Bonaventure Elite Eight at Villanova on March 14, 1970, prevented him from exiting the NCAA international tournament, lost by the Bonnies a few days later. Pistons filed a lawsuit against him on March 23, 1970, and allegedly signed him on his hospital bed after undergoing knee surgery.
“I always admire him because he comes to play with injuries,” Chris Ford, teammate at Pistons from 1972-79, told Free Press in 1983. “He’s a man who can do anything to win. He’s never been a winner, unfortunately, but he’s a winner.”
Lanier finished among the top 10 in the NBA MVP voting four times in the 1970s, a decade that made him famous for his battles between Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
His performances during the ten most difficult years in the NBA also included finishing fourth in 1976-77 and finishing third in 1973-74, the season he was named MVP of the NBA All-Star Game.
That year, he scored 22.5 points, 13.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and three blocks in the game as he led the Pistons to a record 52-30, the first 50 wins in franchise history. The Pistons would not win 50 games in one season until 1990-91.
The Pistons are owned by Tom Gores released a statement regarding Lanier’s death Wednesday morning:
The Detroit Pistons are deeply saddened by the death of Bob Lanier, a true story that meant a lot to the city of Detroit and generations of Pistons fans. the world. ”
The Pistons retired from Lanier No. 16 jersey on Jan. 9, 1993.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recalled a basketball legend who remained active in the game despite retiring.
“Bob Lanier was a Hall of Fame player and one of the most talented players in NBA history, but his results in the league far exceeded his achievements on the pitch,” Silver said. he said on Tuesday night’s release. “For more than 30 years, Bob served as our international ambassador and special assistant to David Stern and then I, traveling around the world to teach the virtues of the game and make young people everywhere. Bob’s love, who was one of the kindest people and The most honest I have ever had.His great influence on the NBA was also evident during his tenure as President of the National Basketball Players Association, where he was instrumental in negotiating.
“I learned a lot from Bob by observing how he treats people. He was a close friend of mine who I will miss very much, as did many NBA friends who were inspired by his generosity. We send our deepest condolences to Bob’s family and friends. “
A Buffalo, New York, native, Lanier became a star in St. Louis. Bonaventure in the late 1960s, led a small school from New York State to the Final Four in the 1970 NCAA competition. He finished his career with the Bonnies with 27.6 points and 15.7 rebounds in the game as he shot 57.6% off the field, which was a blow to his top season, earning 29.1 points and 16 rebounds while shooting 56.1% off the field.
So far, the Pistons have missed the playoffs in the last six years. They finished with the NBA’s third worst record, but finished their league in the period 1969-70 and won the trophy which was followed by the Houston Rockets.
Lanier’s expansion immediately improved the franchise, with the Pistons winning 31st to 45th in 1970-71 – and their first successful record since moving to Detroit from Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1957.
Over season 9½, Lanier formed seven All-Star teams like the Piston. He has performed twice in nine of the nine seasons with the Pistons, missing the mark as a player – still making the All-Rookie first team – by 1978-79, when an injury cost him 53 games.
After playing at least 76 games in his first five seasons, Lanier played 64, 64, 63 and 53 games in his last four games in Detroit. However, he removed the pain in a very heavy race that included big men like Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton and Moses Malone.
“I’m prejudiced because we have been together for so long, just like I was fired,” former Pistons coach Dick Vitale, who coached Lanier from 1978-80, told Free Press in 1983. “But if every player has a problem Bob Lanier’s behavior , it would have been easier for the teacher to work. I was always amazed to see him in the locker room, the pain he went through.… He could turn around, kick his knees and sit there looking down. “
When the Pistons returned to the basement in the later years of his career, Lanier appealed to businesses to compete. He sent him to the Bucks, where he played in his last 4½ seasons where he scored 13.5 points per game.
The Bucks deal, created at Lanier’s request in the early 1979-80 season, ended in bloodshed between the star and his old license after a month’s time when Lanier broke a bone in his left arm. However, Lanier complained about the time he left Motor City.
“Yes, I have been relieved, but I am also sad,” she told the Free Press the following day. “I have a lot of memories of Detroit … fans. I will always remember the excitement I experienced at the All-Star Game here last year.”
Lanier was Detroit’s career leader on rebounds before being sacked by Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer in those categories, and his one-off 33 rebounds, set in December 1972, was not promoted until Dennis Rodman drew 34 boards. .
Although he had a chance to compete for the title with the Bucks – Milwaukee won his share every year with Lanier, but did not make it to the final – leaving Detroit was not easy for Lanier.
“When I got on that plane, I cried like a baby,” said the Free Press in 1993. “I asked for a sale, but my blood and intestines were Pistons. Wonder how it was with Milwaukee, my heart. And the spirit was Pistons.”
If the Bucks trade was a split between Lanier and the Pistons, his Laimbeer punch on Nov. 1, 1983, was, in fact, a divorce. Laimbeer called the fist a “cheap shot,” and negotiations to make Lanier’s number as the second retirement with the permit were suspended for ten years. (Milwaukee resigned Lanier’s number shortly after retiring in 1984.)
But Lanier and Laimbeer made peace in the early 1990s – “We talked a lot forward,” Lanier told the Free Press in 1993. “What I did not do well. There is no question about that.” – and No. 16 was soon promoted to the rocks of the Auburn Hills House, to be with his team-mate for five seasons (1970-75): Dave Bing.
“We had to be more like brothers than our friends … we used to spend the whole night just talking,” Bing said of Lanier in 1983. “He’s very smart and loves to talk. He can be a very good teacher.”
In 1995, Lanier was an assistant coach at the Golden State Warriors, and later became the longest-serving head coach after retiring Don Nelson (Lanier and Bucks coach in the 1980s). Lanier went 12-25, and the Warriors hired another coach later that season.
Lanier won the NBA J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award during the 1977-78 season for his outstanding contribution to the region. Following his playing career, he helped launch the NBA’s Stay in School campaign and took part in the league.
“It is very important here,” he said. “When you travel around the world and in different countries, you see that there are a lot of people who are in big trouble so the NBA can do a lot. We make a big difference, but there is always a lot to do.”
The Associated Press has contributed to this.
Contact Ryan Ford at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @theford.