NBA Hall of Famer and former Bucks star Bob Lanier passes away at age 73

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58/AP) -- Milwaukee Bucks legend Bob Lanier has passed away at the age of 73. 

Lanier was one of the NBA’s top players of the 1970s, muscling up beside the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Lanier played 14 seasons with the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks.

The left-hander averaged more than 20 points and 10 rebounds.

He was the No. 1 draft pick in 1970 after leading St. Bonaventure to the Final Four.

In 1992, he made the Hall of Fame, where a bronzed pair of his giant sneakers are displayed.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver released the following statement:

"Bob Lanier was a Hall of Fame player and one of the most talented centers in the history of the NBA, but his impact on the league went far beyond what he accomplished on the court. For more than 30 years, Bob served as our global ambassador and as a special assistant to [former commissioner] David Stern and then me, traveling the world to teach the game's values, and make a positive impact on young people everywhere.

"It was a labor of love for Bob, who was one of the kindest and most genuine people I have ever been around. His enormous influence on the NBA was also seen in 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.

"I learned so much from Bob by simply watching how he connected with people. He was a close friend who I will miss dearly, as will so many of his colleagues across the NBA who were inspired by his generosity. We send our deepest condolences to Bob's family and friends."

The Milwaukee Bucks released the following statement on his passing: 

"Bob Lanier was an all-time great Milwaukee Buck and a Hall of Famer, whose retired No. 16 hangs in the rafters at Fiserv Forum. In his five seasons in Milwaukee (1980-84), Bob led the Bucks to Division titles each year and to two Eastern Conference Finals appearances in 1983 and 1984. But even more than his basketball success, which included his being an All-Star in 1982, Bob was one of the most popular players with Bucks fans and known throughout the community for his generosity and kindness. We send our deepest condolences to Bob’s family and friends."

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