Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame center Bob Lanier died Tuesday night after the illness, the NBA announced. He is 73 years old.
League commissioner Adam Silver released the following statement.
“Bob Lanier is a Hall of Fame player and one of the most talented centers in NBA history, but his impact on the league is more than he has made on the court. For more than 30 years, Bob has served as our global ambassador and as a special assistant to David Stern and then me, traveled the world to teach the values of the game and make a positive impact on young people everywhere.It is a labor of love for you Bob, who is one of the kindest and most sincere people I have ever been with.His huge influence in the NBA was also seen during his time as President of the National Basketball Players Association, where he played an important role in negotiating a a game-changing collective bargaining agreement.
“I learned so much from Bob just by watching how he communicated with people. He was a close friend that I miss very much, as well as many of his teammates throughout the NBA who were inspired by his generosity. We send our heartfelt condolences to Bob’s family and friends. ”
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Lanier is No. 1 pick in the 1970 NBA draft before averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game for the Bucks and Pistons throughout his 14-season career. He became President of the NBPA and served as special assistant to the two commissioners.