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Hall of Famer Slick Leonard passes away at 88
He's from Terre Haute, won an NCAA Championship at IU and is the winningest coach in Pacers franchise history.
Slick Leonard has passed away, league sources told Fieldhouse Files. He was 88.
A native of Terre Haute, Indiana, Leonard was a legendary figure in the Indiana sports landscape. He won an NCAA Championship with Indiana University in 1953, was a three-time ABA Champion as the head coach of the Pacers, and has informed and entertained Pacers fans for decades on radio broadcasts.
He passed away Tuesday in his sleep and had a number of medical concerns recently, including a hospital stay for a bladder infection at the end of March.
In December, he had a procedure after suffering from Aortic aneurysm — an enlargement of the aorta, the major blood vessel that carries blood to the body.
The Pacers issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon from the Simon Family.
“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.”
Leonard was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014. He's easily the winningest coach in Pacers franchise history — with 529 wins from 1968-1980. A banner with his name on it and "529" hangs in the rafters at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Known for his iconic “Boom, Baby!” call, Leonard was in his 36th season with the Pacers as the radio analyst, paired together with Mark Boyle since the 1994 NBA Playoffs.
Even though he did not attend games this season, he was part of every radio broadcast — calling in before and at halftime of each game.
Slick and his wife Nancy met at IU and were inseparable. Kind to everyone, nobody was a stranger to them. And they are arguably the most important people in the history of the Pacers.