Bob Lanier, a left-handed big man who dominated the NBA in the 1970s alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, died Tuesday.
The NBA said Lanier died suddenly. The Hall of Famer was a global ambassador for the league. In 2019, The Athletic reported Lanier had bladder cancer.
Lanier had a career average of 20.1 points and 10.1 rebounds with the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks.
He ranks third in both points and rebounds for the Pistons. After leading St. Bonaventure to the Final Four, Detroit drafted Lanier first overall in 1970.
Lanier was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1992. But his bronzed sneakers got there first, on display in the shrine.
A Converse representative told The Atlanta Constitution in 1989 that Lanier wore size 18 1/2 shoes, despite wearing size 22 shoes.
Lanier, a Buffalo native, averaged 27.6 points and 15.7 rebounds in three seasons at St. Bonaventure.
It was a close call in 1970, as Lanier injured his knee in the regional final and St. Bonaventure lost to Jacksonville in the national semifinals.
He leads the Pistons in scoring with 22.7 points per game and is adored in Detroit for his fierceness and friendliness.