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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Reacts To Death Of NBA Legend

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar waves to fans as he arrive to attend the UCLA Bruins and Arizona Wildcats college basketball game.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 21: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar waves to fans as he arrive to attend the UCLA Bruins and Arizona Wildcats college basketball game at Pauley Pavilion on January 21, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Abdul-Jabbar was honored at half-time after recently receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President Barack Obama. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The NBA lost a legendary figure this week in Bob Lanier. He was 73 years old. 

Lanier, an eight-time All-Star and Hall of Famer, passed away after dealing with an illness. On Wednesday, the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar released a statement regarding this unfortunate news. 

Abdul-Jabbar, who had a strong relationship with Lanier, believes the sport will "greatly miss" the former St. Bonaventure star.

"Bob Lanier will always be one of the big men of basketball. Not just because of the size of his body but because of the size of his heart," Abdul-Jabbar wrote. "Bob and I are forever linked because of the Bucks and because of me complaining about dragging him up and down the court in 'Airplane!' 

"He will be greatly missed by the sport, by the fans, and by me. His death is a reminder of how vulnerable we all are to cancer no matter how big and strong we are and how we all need to be vigilant in fighting the disease." 

Lanier was an outstanding player throughout his NBA career, averaging 20.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Not only did he shine on the court, he made a noticeable impact off it. 

"For more than 30 years, Bob served as our global ambassador and as a special assistant to David Stern and then me, traveling the world to teach the game's values and make a positive impact on young people everywhere," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "It was a labor of love for Bob, who was one of the kindest and most genuine people I have ever been around."

Our thoughts are with the Lanier family at this time.