Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame center Bob Lanier died Tuesday evening after an illness, the NBA announced. He was 73 years old.
League commissioner Adam Silver released the following statement.
“Bob Lanier was a Hall of Fame player and among the most talented centers in the history of the NBA, but his impact on the league went far beyond what he accomplished on the court. 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. His enormous influence on the NBA was also seen during his time as President of the National Basketball Players Association, where he played a key role in the negotiation of a game-changing collective bargaining agreement.
“I learned so much from Bob by simply watching how he connected with people. He was a close friend who I will miss dearly, as will so many of his colleagues across the NBA who were inspired by his generosity. We send our deepest condolences to Bob’s family and friends.”
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Lanier was the No. 1 pick in the 1970 NBA draft before going on to average 20 points and 10 rebounds per game for the Bucks and Pistons throughout his 14-season career. He went on to be the NBPA President and serve as the special assistant for two commissioners.