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Detroit Pistons legend Bob Lanier dies at 73

Big man is third in franchise history in points and rebounds

Detroit Pistons v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Vernon Biever/NBAE via Getty Images

Detroit Pistons legendary big man and Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Lanier died Tuesday at age 73 following a short illness.

“The Detroit Pistons organization is deeply saddened by the passing Bob Lanier, a true legend who meant so much to the city of Detroit and to generations of Pistons fans,” said Pistons owner Tom Gore in a statement following news of the eight-time All-Star’s death. “As fierce and as dominant as Bob was on the court, he was equally kind and impactful in the community. As an ambassador for both the Pistons organization and the NBA, he represented our league, our franchise and our fans with great passion and integrity. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Bob’s family and friends.”

Lanier averaged 22.7 points per game as a member of the Pistons and 20.1 points and 10.1 rebounds in a career that spanned both the Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks. He was selected first overall in 1970 by the Pistons out of St. Bonaventure. Lanier was the franchise’s most recent first overall selection until the drafting of Cade Cunningham in 2021.

The imposing center was a first-team All-Rookie selection in 1971, and he saw his most individual success as a member of the Pistons, but struggled along with his team in the postseason.