Bob Lanier, who was the center of the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks in the 1970s and 1980s, deftly performing a left-hand shot with soft medium-speed jumper and strong turning skills in a Hall of Fame career, died Tuesday in Phoenix. He was 73 years old.
The NBA said he died after a brief illness, but gave no other details.
Lanier, who stood 6 feet-11 and weighed about 250 pounds, stood out in an era of dominant centers such as Wilt Chamberlain, Karim Abdul-Jabbar, Nate Thurmond and Wes Unseld.
“The boys didn’t change teams so much, so when you met the Bulls or the Bucks or New York, you had all this controversy,” he told NBA.com in 2018. “Lanier against Jabari! Jabar vs. Will Reed! And then Chamberlain and Artis Gilmore and Bill Walton! You had all these great big men and the game was played from the inside out.
He added: “It was a rougher game, a much more physical game we played in the ’70s. You can drive people with your elbows. They started to reduce the number of quarrels by fining people more. Oh, that was a rough game.
As a newcomer to the Pistons in the 1970-71 season, Lanier spent time in the center with Otto Moore. In his second season as a full-time player, he averaged 25.7 points and 14.2 rebounds per game, making him one of the top ten leagues in both categories.
“He understood the slightest nuance of the game,” said Dave Bing, Pistons’s teammate and Hall of Fame, in a video biography of Lanier shown at Fox Sports Detroit in 2012. Like any guard. He had a hook blow – no one but Karim had such a hook. He could do whatever he wanted. ”
Lanier wore 22 sneakers. However, in 1989 a Converse spokesman denied the allegations, saying they were actually ½ 18 in size. Whatever their actual size, the Lanier sneakers, bronze, are in the collection of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, in Springfield, Mass.
During his nine full seasons with Piston, Lanier played in a seven-star game. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1974 All-Star Game, with a 24-point lead over all scorers.
But the Pistons had only four winning seasons when they were on the team and did not go very far in the playoffs. The list changed frequently. The coaches came and went. Lanier suffered knee injuries and other physical delays.
“It was like an impossible life,” he told Fox Sports Detroit.
In the early 1980s, when the Pistons’ record was 14-40, the team traded the Lanier Milwaukee Bucks for young center, Kent Benson, and picked the first round of the 1980 draft. Disappointed with the Pistons’ failure, Lanier asked to be sent to the playoff contender.
“I’m somewhat calm, but I’m sad too,” he told The Detroit Free Press. “I have a lot of good memories of Detroit.”
Lanier averaged 22.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game against Piston.
Robert Jerry Lannier Jr. was born on September 10, 1948 in Buffalo to a family of Robert and Nanny Lanner. Young Bobby was 6 feet 5 by the time he was a sophomore in high school and he played well there with dozens of college likes. He chose St. Bonaventure University in Allegan, New York
There he was a sensation, averaging 27.6 points and 15.7 rebounds over three seasons.
In 1970, the Bonyas defeated Villanova to win the NCAA Men’s Eastern Regional Finals and send them to the final four. But Lanier injured his knee during the game, forcing Bonnie to face Jacksonville in the national semi-final without him. St. Bonaventure lost, 91-83.
“I did not even know it when I knelt down,” Lanier told The Buffalo News in 2007. “But when I stepped back on the court and tried to spin, my leg fell. I did not know at the time that I was taking MCL.
Lanier was still recovering from knee surgery when the Pistons picked him as the number one pick in the NBA Draft. He was also selected No. 1 by the Nets of the American Basketball Association in New York (now Brooklyn). He quickly signed with Detroit.
Although he had statistically better years at the Pistons, Lanier had more team success at the Bucks (and also played in another All-Star game). Under Coach Don Nelson, the Bucks won 60 games in the 1980-81 season and reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 1982-83 and 1983-84.
Lanier was also president of the Players’ Union, the National Basketball Association, and helped negotiate a collective bargaining agreement in 1983 to prevent a strike.
At the start of the 1983-84 season, his last player, Lanier, got angry at Bill Limber, the center of the Pistons, for throwing Michael Silvermo under the boards in Pontiac. The nose was broken.
This act not only fined Lanier $ 5,000; He also postponed the retirement of his No. 16 jersey for the Pistons until 1993. Bucks canceled his number in late 1984.
He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992.
When he retired, he owned a marketing firm and worked extensively with the NBA as global ambassador and special assistant to David Stern, the league’s longtime commissioner, and his successor, Adam Silver. Lanier also served as Nelson’s coaching assistant with the Golden State Warriors during the 1994-95 season and replaced him as interim coach in Nelson’s last 37 games of the season.
Information about the survivors was not immediately available.
Lanier said that after retiring, he was less recognized by the public than when he was a footballer. After Shaquille O’Neal, one of the league’s most dominant centers, appeared in the early 1990s, people thought he’s supposed to be O’Neill’s father, he told NBA.com in 2018.
“You wear their big shoes,” he told people. “I’m just going with him. “Yes, I’m Shake’s father.”