Bob Lanier is a legend both on and off the court. An eight-time NBA All-Star and member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Lanier routinely visits with students and delivers motivational messages on education, youth, and family development and health issues. Lanier serves as Special Assistant to the Commissioner and is an Ambassador for the NBA Cares program, the league’s global social responsibility initiative.
Lanier played nine seasons with the Detroit Pistons before being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks during the 1979-80 season. In Lanier’s 14 years in the NBA, he was one of the league’s most prolific scorers, with more than 19,000 career points; was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team in 1971; and earned the 1974 All-Star MVP award.
Lanier is the recipient of many distinguished awards. In June 2000, Lanier was the recipient of the Horizon Award – presented annually by the Joint Leadership Commission of the United States Congress and the Board of Directors of The Congressional Award Foundation – to individuals who have made an exceptional impact on the lives of America’s young people. In 1993, Lanier received the Schick Achievement Award, given to an NBA player in recognition of distinguished contributions off the court.
Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992, Lanier had his number retired by the Detroit Pistons and the Milwaukee Bucks. He is a 1990 inductee of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, and a 1991 inductee of the Western New York Sports Hall of Fame in his native Buffalo. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame honored Lanier with the Manny Jackson Human Spirit Award in 2009. In 1981, the YMCA presented Lanier with the Jackie Robinson Award for service to youth, good citizenship and leadership. In 1978, the Professional Basketball Writers Association selected him (PBWA) to receive the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for outstanding community service.
Lanier graduated with a degree in business administration from St. Bonaventure University, where he had an outstanding basketball career, culminating in being named to The Sporting News All-American First Team in 1970. He also holds honorary doctorate degrees from St. Bonaventure University and Siena University.
In addition to his work with NBA CARES, Lanier co-authored a children’s book series with Heather Goodyear called Hey Lil’D. Published by Scholastic, the series is based on Lanier’s own childhood experiences. The series currently consists of four titles: It’s All in the Name, Take the Court, Out of Bounds, and Stuck in the Middle.