Robert Jerry Lanier, Jr., known as Bob Lanier, (born September 10, 1948, in Buffalo, New York and died May 10, 2022) was a former American professional basketball player for the Detroit Pistons and the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA. He evolved at “Buffalo Bennett” high school from where he graduated in 1966, then joined St. Bonaventure University, in Olean, New York.
Lanier earned three All-America selections (from 1968 to 1970), and in 1970 he led St. Bonaventure to the NCAA Final Four, however, he was injured in the regional tournament and did not participate in the semi-final loss to at Jacksonville University conducted by Artis Gilmore. That year, he was named Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Player of the Year.
Lanier was selected first overall in the 1970 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons and was named to the All-Rookie Team in the 1970–71 NBA season. He played in Detroit until he was transferred to the Milwaukee Bucks during the 1979-1980 NBA season. During his five seasons with the Bucks, they won the division title every year. He retired after the 1983-84 NBA season.
In his 14 NBA seasons, Lanier averaged 20.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game while shooting a respectable 51.4 percent on goal. He played in eight NBA All-Star Games, and was named MVP in the 1974 NBA All-Star Game. Lanier was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and his number 16 jersey was retired by both the Pistons and Bucks.
During the 1994-95 NBA season, he became interim head coach of the Golden State Warriors for 37 games after Don Nelson was ousted, compiling a record of 12 wins – 25 losses.
Lanier is quoted in the movie Airplane! (Is there a pilot on the plane ?). In one scene, a boy is invited into a cockpit of an airliner, and says that the co-pilot (played by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) is actually Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Abdul-Jabbar, playing a character, denies being a basketball star, insisting he is Captain Roger Murdock, the plane's co-pilot. The boy goes on to say that Abdul-Jabbar is excellent, but his father retorts that he "doesn't work much in defense..." and that he "doesn't push too hard...except during the playoffs". This provokes the irritation of Abdul-Jabbar retorting: “Try to wrestle with Bill Walton and Lanier all over the field for 48 minutes! ".
During Lanier's NBA career, he was the player with the biggest feet, since he wore a 57. They could be seen in an advertisement for Miller Lite, a brand of beer on television in the 1980s with other personalities from the sports world Bob Uecker, Sparky Lyle and John Madden.
At the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, visitors can compare the size of their feet to Lanier's.
Notes and References
List of NBA career leading scorers.
List of the best NBA rebounders in career.
Sports Resources: Proballers Basketball Hall of Fame Basketball Reference Basketball Reference NBA Players National Basketball Association National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (en) RealGM (players) (en) SRCBB (players)
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