Bob Lanier, Detroit Pistons legend, dies at 73

Bob Lanier. whose stellar career with the Detroit Pistons in the 1970s was hampered both by injuries and his desire for a title, has died at age 73, the NBA announced Tuesday night.

Lanier, taken No. 1 overall by the Pistons in 1970 out of St. Bonaventure, spent parts of 10 seasons with the franchise, averaging 22.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game over 681 games in Detroit. He then played parts of five seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks while hunting for a championship that eluded him at both the collegiate and pro levels. He ended his NBA career in 1984 with averages of 20.1 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

Detroit Pistons center Bob Lanier goes up against Atlanta Hawks forwards John Drew (22) and Steve Hawes (10).

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An eight-time All-Star, Lanier was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992. That came despite at least eight serious knee injuries, including one before he had even signed his rookie deal with the Pistons. An ACL tear suffered in St. Bonaventure’s Elite Eight victory over Villanova on March 14, 1970, kept him out of the NCAA tournament national semifinal, lost by the Bonnies a few days later. The Pistons drafted him on March 23, 1970, then reportedly signed him from his hospital bed after knee surgery.

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