Milwaukee Bucks legend, Hall of Famer Bob Lanier passes away at 73

NEW YORK - JANUARY 27: Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JANUARY 27: Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images) /

Bob Lanier, who played over 950 NBA games and was a Milwaukee Bucks legend, passed away at 73 years old.

Lanier spent four and a half of his 14 NBA seasons with the Bucks and has his number 16 retired by the team, hung up in the rafters at Fiserv Forum. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Milwaukee Bucks legend Bob Lanier passes away at 73-years-old

It’s a sad day for the Bucks community and the basketball community as a whole with the passing of Lanier. As his Hall of Fame induction suggests, he was an all-time great and had a fantastic career.

He was selected first overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 1970 NBA Draft, ahead of names such as Bob Cowens, Tiny Archibald, and Pete Maravich. He spent most of his career with the Pistons, playing over 680 games with the franchise.

He made eight All-Star teams, seven with the Pistons and one with the Bucks, and won the All-Star Game MVP in 1973-74.

Lanier averaged 20.1 points per game in his career with his best scoring season coming as a sophomore when he averaged 25.7 points and grabbed 14.2 rebounds. In the first season when blocks became an official stat in ’73-’74, Lanier averaged three per game along with over 22 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, and more than a steal per game.

He came to the Bucks in a trade that sent Kent Benson and a 1980 first-round pick to Detroit which later became Larry Drew.

Lanier wasn’t the same player with the Bucks that he was with the Pistons, but he still had a big impact on those Don Nelson-led clubs. Playing alongside Sidney Moncrief and Marques Johnson, Lanier averaged 13.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals, and 0.9 blocks in his time with the Bucks.

Although those teams never reached the ultimate goal of winning an NBA title, getting to the Eastern Conference Final in 1983 was still a heck of an accomplishment. The 1980s Bucks teams are still regarded as some of the best teams that never won a title and Lanier was a big factor on those great teams. Lanier is one of five Bucks players in the Hall of Fame, with Bob Dandridge the most recent electee.

Lanier would have been a great fit on the current day Bucks teams given his physical play. He was notorious for getting into scuffles with opponents, most notably Bill Laimbeer, and wouldn’t take guff from anyone.

I, obviously, never got to watch Lanier but from the highlights and videos of him that I’ve seen, he was a fantastic scorer around the basket. At a time when big men were so vital and there were so many great bigs in his era, Lanier was among the best at both ends.

Lanier will forever be remembered as one of the best big men to ever do it and his number hangs proudly in two NBA arenas.

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Rest in peace, Bob. Thank you for everything you did for the Milwaukee Bucks and NBA community both on and off the floor.