Former Pistons center Bob Lanier died Tuesday following a brief illness, according to the NBA. Lanier was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992. In 2019, The Athletic reported that Lanier was suffering from bladder cancer. Lanier, a Buffalo native, was drafted by the Pistons in 1970. He was selected first overall by the league out of St. Bonaventure. During his time as a Detroit Piston, Lanier played in eight All-Star Games. His NBA career ended with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1984. During the 94′-95′ NBA season, the Golden State Warriors hired Lanier as assistant coach for the team. Later that season, he severed as the team’s interim coach as well.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement saying, “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.”
Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores also issued a statement saying, “As fierce and as dominant as Bob was on the court, he was equally kind and impactful in the community. As an ambassador for both the Pistons organization and the NBA, he represented our league, our franchise and our fans with great passion and integrity.”
105.9 Kiss FM sends their love and deepest condolences to Bob Lanier and his family. He will truly be missed.