(ASSOCIATED PRESS & WXYZ DIGITAL TEAM) — Basketball big man Bob Lanier has died after a short illness. He was 73.
Lanier was one of the NBA’s top players of the 1970s, muscling up beside the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Lanier played 14 seasons with the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks.
The left-hander averaged more than 20 points and 10 rebounds. He was the No. 1 draft pick in 1970 after leading St. Bonaventure to the Final Four.
In 1992, he made the Hall of Fame, where a bronzed pair of his giant sneakers is displayed.
On Wednesday, the Detroit Pistons released the following statement on his passing:
“The Detroit Pistons organization is deeply saddened by the passing Bob Lanier, a true legend who meant so much to the city of Detroit and to generations of Pistons fans. 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. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Bob’s family and friends.”