“I’m happy to get in (Basketball Hall of Fame). They must have run out of old guys.”
Bobby “Slick” Leonard
Bobby “Slick” Leonard is a lifelong Hoosier, born in Terre Haute. He was a two-time All-America at Indiana University. In 1953, Leonard hit the winning free throws to catapult the Hoosiers to the NCAA Championship. After his days at Indiana, Leonard played in the NBA for seven seasons – five with the Lakers and two with the Chicago Packers/Zephyrs. Leonard coached in the NBA for two seasons – one with the Zephyrs and one with the Bullets after the Zephyrs had moved to Baltimore. “Slick” Leonard then coached the Indiana Pacers for nearly 12 years – winning three ABA Championships. Bobby Leonard has been a color commentator on Indiana Pacer broadcasts since 1985 where he coined the term, “Boom Baby”, when a Pacer player hits a 3 point field goal.
Bobby “Slick” Leonard finally got the wonderful news last week. He had been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Remember, it is the Basketball Hall of Fame, and that is all encompassing. When you look at all of Slick’s remarkable accomplishments as a college player, pro coach, and broadcaster, he is extremely deserving of this honor. His strengths as a coach were his passion, his emotions, and his likeability. I interview him on many occasions from 1976-1980. Those were difficult times for the Pacers. They had joined the NBA after the ABA and NBA had merged. After all of his success in the ABA, “Slick” was not used to all this losing. Nevertheless, he always was pleasant and friendly and could not have been nicer. Bobby Leonard should not have had to wait so long to have been elected to the Hall of Fame, but he is in, and it is wonderful that he still is alive to appreciate it.