NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the following statment.
“Bob Lanier was a Hall of Fame player and one of the most talented players in NBA history, but his impact on the league far exceeded what he accomplished on the field. For more than 30 years, Bob has served as a global ambassador and special assistant for [former commissioner] David Stern, then me, travel the world to teach the values of the game, and to make a positive impact on young people everywhere.
“It was an endearing work for Bob, who was one of the most kind and authentic people I have ever met. His tremendous impact on the NBA was also seen in his time as president of the National Basketball Players Association, where he played a key role in negotiating a collective bargaining agreement that changed the rules of the game.
“I learned a lot from Bob just by watching how he communicated with people. He was a close friend I will miss dearly, as well as many of his NBA teammates who were inspired by his generosity. We send our deepest condolences to Bob’s family and friends.”
Lanier was the #1 overall pick in the 1970 draft, averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds in his career. He also served on the voting committee for NBA 75th Anniversary Teamwhich was announced last October.