Statement from Pacers Sports & Entertainment owners Herb Simon, Steve Simon, and the Simon Family on the passing of Bobby “Slick” Leonard
“Pacers fans will remember Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard as the spirit of our franchise. 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. 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.”
Bobby “Slick” Leonard:
A Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee in 2014, Bobby “Slick” Leonard spent more than 50 years as a part of the Pacers organization, both as a championship-winning coach and a broadcaster. As Pacers’ head coach from 1968-1980, he won 529 games and three ABA championships and was later voted by a national sportswriters and broadcasters association as the ABA’s All-Time Coach.
Named one of Indiana’s “50 Greatest Players” and a two-time All-American at Indiana University, Slick was captain of the Hoosiers’ 1953 NCAA championship team and Big Ten Championship teams in 1953 and ‘54. He then served in the U.S. Army from 1954-56 before playing seven years in the NBA with the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers and was named an All Star in 1963.
In addition to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, Slick is enshrined in the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame and the Indiana Sports Writers and Broadcasters Hall of Fame and was the first person inducted into the Indiana University Sports Hall of Fame. He was also honored as a member of Indiana University’s All-Century Basketball Team
Finally, Slick is one of just six individuals in Pacers history to have a banner raised in his honor. Hanging from the rafters of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the banner honors his 529 victories as coach of the Pacers and his contributions to the game.