Former NBA players pay tribute to Pistons icon Bob Lanier

Detroit News
The NBA community was saddened by Tuesday’s announcement that Bob Lanier, a Hall of Fame center who played 14 seasons with the Pistons, passed away at the age of 73.

The condolences and messages of support continued to roll in on Wednesday, with several former Pistons and players around the league expressing their remembrances honoring Lanier.

Here are a few of those tributes:

Former Pistons player, teammate and Hall of Famer Dave Bing:  “It was unfortunate to hear of Bob’s passing yesterday. I have many great memories of Bob, both as a teammate and as a friend. I was lucky to have played with him as a member of the Pistons and to have shared a long-lasting friendship. Bob will be greatly missed.”

Former Pistons player and Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas: “All of us who love the game of basketball are hurting with the loss of Bob Lanier. He was one of the greatest centers to play the game and one of the toughest and fiercest competitors. Just as he impacted the game on the court, Bob was one of the game’s greatest ambassadors. His class and caring for others set a great example for so many to follow. I’m grateful for his friendship and mentorship as I led the Pistons as a player and later followed his footsteps as president of the Players’ Association.”

Former Pistons player and head coach Ray Scott: “My friend, Bob, was an extraordinary talent who led the Pistons to playoff status. He shared his success with his community. He will never be forgotten.”

Former Pistons player and radio analyst Rick Mahorn: “Big Bob was a fierce competitor and one of the greatest big men to play the game of basketball, but he was an even better human being. He was always ready to share his knowledge of the game and life and had a lasting impact on many lives and communities. He and Wes Unseld, who we also lost, were like father figures to me. It didn’t matter if I was still playing or when I retired, I was still scared and intimidated whenever I saw him, but it was all out of respect and love. Our world, and especially the basketball world, lost a great one. He will surely be missed.”

Detroit Pistons broadcaster George Blaha: “The Pistons and the NBA have lost a treasured member of our family. Bob was one of the game’s all-time greatest big men with his strength, his touch, his toughness, and his feel for the game. He was a nightmare for the opposition. It was a privilege to broadcast his games, spend time with him and to follow his illustrious career as a multi-time all-star, president of the players association and as a tireless ambassador for our league’s community outreach programs. He welcomed me to the Pistons family in my first year as a broadcaster and was a true friend. Rest in peace Bob, we’ll all miss him very much.”

NBA Players Association: “The NBPA is saddened by the passing of our brother and former NBPA President, Bob Lanier. During his time as President of the NBPA, Bob was a dedicated leader, using his platform to advocate for the rights of all players through the negotiation of a historic collective bargaining agreement in 1983 which empowered future generations of players to thrive and better advocate for themselves as a collective group. Through his work with the NBA, Bob also had a tremendous impact on younger generations as an ambassador for the game of basketball and led with dignity to support education and family initiatives domestically and around the world. Bob’s graciousness and compassionate nature made him truly special and we will always be grateful for his impact on and off the court. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bob’s family and friends during this time.”

Hall of Fame center Dikembe Mutombo: “I would like to express my deepest condolences on the passing of my friend and fellow NBA Hall of Famer, Bob Lanier. I had the unique opportunity to travel the world with Bob on behalf of NBA Cares where I met so many wonderful and caring people. Bob was a terrific person.”

President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame John L. Doleva: “Bob Lanier loved the game of basketball and truly made the game his life’s work. He was one of the friendliest and authentic people we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with and he never seemed to ever have a bad day. He served as a mentor to innumerous players around the league and was a tremendous steward for the game through his work in growing the sport, both at home and abroad. He will be tremendously missed by the entire Hall of Fame family.”

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