Earlier today, we have unfortunately learned that NBA legend Bob Lanier passed away at 73 years old after a short disease. One of the greatest big men the NBA has ever seen, Lanier's career and life will not be forgotten.
Bob Lanier's basketball path
Straight out of Buffalo, New York, Lanier's basketball path didn't start as easy as you's think. Despite being bigger than most of his generation, Bob was deemed clumsy and rejected by his high school coach at first. But after working on himself, Lanier would try out again and dominate, becoming one of the most recruited prospects at the time.
Bob would commit to St. Bonaventure University and spend all four years there, becoming a legend and notching numerous All-American awards. Without a doubt, the Pistons took him with the first pick in the 1970 Draft, even though Lanier was nursing a severe knee injury.
But the risk would pay off, as Lanier would spend 10 great seasons in Detroit, averaging 22.7 ppg, 11.8 rpg, and 2.0 bpg. In those years, Lanier played alongside another legend in Dave Bing, but they never managed to get to the end. The constant injuries would impact Lanier and his ability to stay on the court.
After 10 years in Detroit, Bob would get traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for Kent Benson and spend 5 seasons there before retiring. In his time with the Bucks, Lanier was already in his 30s and past his prime, especially because of the injuries. But Bob still played an important role on those Bucks teams, alongside some great names like Sidney Moncrief and Marques Johnson.
In the end, Bob Lanier would retire in 1984 at 35 years old, primarily because of the reoccurring injuries that really stopped him from having an even better career. Lanier would finish his career without a ring, but still with 8x All-Star selections, an All-Star game MVP, and All-Rookie honors.
The combination of strength and finesse made Lanier a really tough matchup. Many called him an enforcer, not afraid of anybody, but he still had that smooth left hand and game in the post. Even his rivals admitted that if it wasn't for the knee injuries, Lanier could have been a lot higher on the list of many people.