I was so saddened to hear about the passing of Bob Lanier. Bob and I had a fantastic relationship, both personally and professionally. For a number of years, we had a basketball camp together for youngsters between the ages of 10-18, which we held in West Bloomfield. Michigan.
The camp was called the BOB LANIER - DICK VITALE ALL STAR CAMP. Also though only for a short time, I had the opportunity to coach Bob with the Detroit Pistons in the late 70’s. He was a super talent and that was obvious by his induction in 1992 into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He was a super Solid Gold All-American at St Bonaventure University, as he led them to the Final 4.
Despite the many knee injuries in his career, he was super successful when healthy. Unfortunately, for me as a coach he missed about 35 games my first year due to knee problems and it hurt us big time.
My last time with Bob was several years ago, when he spent a weekend at my house and attended my Gala. We had so much fun as he had a great sense of humor. I always teased him that he was a gentle giant. After his playing career, he was hired by David Stern to be an Ambassador for the NBA and he traveled all over the world, promoting the NBA while inspiring and motivating young people to get an education .
I will miss him but never, ever forget the great memories we shared together over the years.
My heart and prayers go out to his family, friends and teammates. Please GOD let BOB RIP. I loved YOU GENTLE GIANT!