On Tuesday afternoon, the basketball world mourned the loss of a beloved figure when a longtime head coach passed away.
Bobby “Slick” Leonard, a longtime coach for the Indiana Pacers, passed away this week according to a statement from the team. He was 88 years old.
“Pacers fans will remember Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard as the spirit of our franchise,” the Simon family said in a statement. “With a charisma, intensity, and with 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. Most importantly, though, Slick and Nancy are our family, and his passing leaves an unfillable void in the hearts of everyone associated with this organization. We keep the entire Leonard family in our prayers, and we recognize and honor Slick for what he meant to our state both on and off the court.”
— Rob Connett (@RobConnett1) April 13, 2021
Leonard is Indiana basketball. He grew up in the state and went on to play college basketball for the Hoosiers. He helped the team to a national title during the 1953 season.
Following his stellar collegiate career, Leonard played for the Minneapolis Lakers and played one season for the team after their move to Los Angeles. He went on to become a player/coach for the Chicago Zephyrs and Baltimore Bullets before retiring.
After his playing days were over, Leonard became the head coach of the Pacers. He led the franchise to three ABA championships.
Our thoughts are with the Leonard family.