Bob Lanier, the legendary NBA and Detroit Pistons player, died soon after midnight. For his efforts on and off the court, the former No. 1 overall choice, eight-time All-Star, and basketball Hall of Famer had many supporters.
Former teammates, coaches, media celebrities, and others have been remembering the exploits of one of the best big men of the 1970s. Several key members of the Detroit Pistons have issued remarks.
“The Detroit Pistons organization saddens the loss of Bob Lanier, a great who meant so much to the city of Detroit and generations of Pistons fans,” said Pistons owner Tom Gores. Bob was as tough and powerful on the court as compassionate and influential in the community. He served our league, team, and fans with incredible passion and honesty as an ambassador for the Pistons and the NBA. Bob’s family and friends have our sincere sympathy.”
“It was devastating to learn of Bob’s demise yesterday,” says former Pistons player, teammate, and Hall of Famer Dave Bing. As a colleague and a friend, I have many fond memories of Bob. I consider myself fortunate to have played with him as a member of the Pistons and to have maintained a long relationship with him. Bob will miss tremendously.”
“All of us who love the game of basketball are suffering from the death of Bob Lanier.” Says former Pistons player and Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas. While he was one of the best centers and one of the most complex and most competitive rivals. Bob was one of the game’s most excellent ambassadors, just as he influenced the court. His decency and concern for others set a fantastic example for many. While a player, I was thankful for his friendship and mentoring as I led the Pistons and then as president of the Players’ Association.”
“My buddy, Bob, was an outstanding talent who guided the Pistons to playoff status,” says Ray Scott. A former Pistons player, and head coach. He told his neighbors about his achievement.”
“Big Bob Lanier was a tremendous competitor and one of the finest big men to play the game of basketball. But he was an even finer human being,” says Rick Mahorn, a former Pistons player and radio commentator.
While he was always willing to share his knowledge of the game and life with others. And he left an indelible mark on many people’s lives and communities. In addition, he and Wes Unseld, who we also lost, were father figures. I was always afraid and intimidated anytime I saw him, whether I was still playing or had retired. But it was all out of respect and love. Our world, particularly the basketball world, has lost a giant.”
“The Pistons and the NBA have lost a valued part of our family,” says Detroit Pistons broadcaster George Blaha. With his power, touch, tenacity, and sense for the game, Bob Lanier was one of the game’s all-time great big men. For the opponents, he was a nightmare. It was an honor to broadcast his games, spend time with him. And follow his fantastic career as a multi-time all-star. Player association president, and dedicated promoter for our league’s community outreach projects. In addition, as a broadcaster, he welcomed me into the Pistons family and became a great friend. Bob, may you rest in peace; we will all miss you.”