NBA legend and Hall of Famer Bob Lanier has died at age 73, officials said.
According to The Associated Press, the NBA said the former Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks star died Tuesday following a short illness. His family was by his side at the time of his death, the league said in a news release.
In a statement early Wednesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that while Lanier was “among the most talented centers in the history of the NBA,” his achievements reached “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,” the statement read.
Silver went on to call Lanier “a close friend who I will miss dearly” and expressed condolences to the former player’s family.
Lanier, a Buffalo, New York, native, was the No. 1 draft pick in 1970, according to the AP. He began his 14-season NBA career with the Pistons before he was traded to the Bucks in 1980. The eight-time All-Star still holds the Pistons’ franchise record for scoring an average of 22.7 points per game, the AP reported.
In 1992, Lanier was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the news agency reported.
Lanier also was rumored to wear size 22 shoes, although a Converse representative once claimed that Lanier’s actual size was 18 1/2, according to the AP.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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