Leonard, Bobby (Robert Leonard)

Leonard, Bobby (Robert Leonard), 1932-2021, American basketball player and coach, b. Terre Haute, Ind. Leonard played basketball and tennis in high school and then for three seasons with the Indiana Univ. basketball team; he was named its All-American guard when it won the N.C.A.A. championship in 1953. In the 1954 N.B.A. draft, he was selected by the Baltimore Bullets, but the franchise folded before he could play. After a stint in the Army, he joined the Minneapolis Lakers in 1955, moving with them to Los Angeles for one season in 1960-61. He next played for the Chicago Packers (renamed the Zephyrs; 1961-63), serving as a player-coach for the team in his second season. The team moved in 1963 to Baltimore and became the Bullets, where he was promoted to be a full-time coach for one season. In 1968, he joined the Indiana Pacers as head coach, and led the team to three ABA championships during his nearly 12 year tenure there. In 1985, he began a three-decade-plus run as a color commentator for the team on television and then radio. Leonard was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.

See his autobiography (2013, with Lew Freedman).

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