Robert Jerry “Bob” Lanier, Jr. (born September 10, 1948) is a retired American professional basketball player who played for the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Lanier was a three-time Converse All-America selection (1968–1970), and in 1970, he led St. Bonaventure to the NCAA Final Four. He was injured late in the regional championship game in a collision with Villanova’s Chris Ford and did not participate in Bona’s national semi-final loss to Artis Gilmore-led Jacksonville University. That year he was named Coach and Athlete Magazine player of the year, and the ECAC Player of the Year.
Lanier was drafted number one overall by the National Basketball Association’s Detroit Pistons and was named to the All-Rookie Team following the 1970-71 season. He starred for Detroit until being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in 1980. In his five seasons with the Bucks, they won the division championship each year. The same year he retired, in 1984, he was awarded the Oscar Robertson Leadership Award.
In his 14 NBA seasons, Lanier averaged 20.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game while shooting a respectable 51.4 percent from the field. He played in eight NBA All-Star Games, and was named Most Valuable Player of the 1974 game. Lanier was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992 and had his #16 jersey retired by both the Pistons and the Bucks.
In 1994-95, he became interim head coach of the Golden State Warriors for 37 games after Don Nelson stood down, in which he compiled a 12-25 win-loss record.
According to Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Lanier would smoke cigarettes at half-time of NBA games. Abdul-Jabar said he would try to take advantage of that by forcing Lanier to run more in the second half.
At the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, visitors are able to compare the size of their foot to that of Lanier’s.
The largest shoe ever created by shoe company Allen Edmonds was a size 22 for Lanier.
The basketball court at Lanier’s alma mater, St. Bonaventure, is named after him.
Lanier currently owns and operates Bob Lanier Enterprises, Inc., a promotional marketing company and is a member of the Proforma (Business) network.
Lanier was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992
Career highlights and awards
8× NBA All-Star (1972–1975, 1977–1979, 1982)
NBA All-Star Game MVP (1974)
NBA All-Rookie First Team (1971)
J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award (1978)
No. 16 retired by Detroit Pistons
No. 16 retired by Milwaukee Bucks
Consensus first-team All-American (1970)
Consensus second-team All-American (1968)
Second-team All-American – AP, NABC, UPI (1969)
No. 31 retired by St. Bonaventure