INDIANAPOLIS – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Friday that Bob “Slick” Leonard, the franchise’s legendary coach from the American Basketball Association will be inducted into the Hall of Fame after being voted in by the ABA Committee. The induction ceremony will take place this September.
Leonard, who has the number 529 (his number of coaching victories) retired by the Pacers, led the Pacers to three ABA championships during his career. He currently is in his 29th year with the team as a broadcaster after coaching the team from 1968 to 1980. This is the third straight year a member of the Pacers has been cited by the ABA Committee for the Hall of Fame following Mel Daniels induction in 2012 and the late Roger Brown in 2013.
“It took a little while, but we’re going out in style,” said Leonard, who grew up in Terre Haute, was part of a national championship team at Indiana and played and coached in the NBA. “For me, it’s a legacy for your children and your grandchildren. It’s great recognition again for the ABA Pacers, the Pacers’ franchise and it’s also great recognition for the State of Indiana and its basketball history and tradition at all levels, high school, college and professional.”
“I couldn’t be happier for Slick Leonard, who has meant so much to this franchise, this city and this state,” said Pacers’ Owner Herb Simon. “It’s a well-deserved honor and makes all of us with the Pacers very proud. Boom Baby!”
“Personally, I’m very happy for the Leonard family,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird. “I have always had the utmost respect for Slick, for his college career, his NBA career, his ABA career and his broadcasting career with the Pacers. He is what Indiana basketball is all about, from his knowledge of its history to the success he has had with the game. He’s very deserving and definitely has earned his spot in the Hall of Fame. When you think of the Indiana Pacers, you think of Bob Leonard. Congratulations, my dear friend.”