Bob Lanier, the left-handed big man who muscled up beside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as one of the NBA's top players of the 1970s, has died. He was 73.
The NBA said Lanier died after a short illness. The Hall of Famer had worked for the league as a global ambassador and The Athletic reported in 2019 that Lanier was being treated for bladder cancer.
Lanier played 14 seasons with the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks and averaged 20.1 points and 10.1 rebounds for his career.
He went into the Hall of Fame in 1992.
But his boat-size shoes got there ahead of him, with a display of his bronzed sneakers in the shrine.
He was known for wearing size 22 shoes, although that was disputed in 1989 by a Converse representative, who told The Atlanta Constitution that Lanier wore size 18-1/2.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement: "Bob Lanier was a Hall of Fame player and among the most talented centres in the history of the NBA, but his impact on the league went far beyond what he accomplished on the court.
"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."
Lanier served as an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors in 1994-95, then led the Warriors to a 12-25 record as interim head coach the next season, following Don Nelson's resignation.
- with Reuters
Australian Associated Press
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