Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014 as a coach, passed away this week at age 88, the Pacers confirmed in a series of statements.
The longtime Indiana native played college ball for Hoosiers, then eventually returned to Indiana to coach the Pacers from 1968-80. He won an NCAA title as a player in 1953 and led the Pacers to three ABA championships as a coach in 1970, 1972, and 1973.
“Pacers fans will remember Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard as the spirit of our franchise,” Pacers owner Herb Simon said in a statement. “With a charisma, intensity, and wit to match his nickname, Slick made us champions. He was our biggest fan and our most loving critic, and he personified Pacers basketball for generations of Hoosier families.”
Our condolences go out to Leonard’s friends and family.
Here are a few more items from around the basketball world:
- In an entertaining piece for The Ringer, Yaron Weitzman takes a closer look at former EPL executive Mike Forde, who has developed a reputation as a trusted consultant for NBA teams looking to identify candidates for front office vacancies.
- Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link) has confirmed with the NBA that the four teams involved in the play-in tournament who don’t earn playoff spots will be in the draft lottery, ranked in inverse order of regular season record. In other words, a No. 7 seed that loses two play-in games and doesn’t make the postseason could theoretically have a shot at the No. 1 overall pick.
- After a postponement in 2020, all indications are that the Tokyo Olympics remain on track to take place in the summer of 2021. Dan Robson of The Athletic examines the “uniquely challenging” event, where Team USA’s men’s basketball team will be looking to win gold for a fourth straight time.