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Basketball legend Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard dead at 88

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(WTHR) - Basketball legend Bobby "Slick" Leonard passed away at the age of 88.

Leonard was a beloved and former Indiana University basketball player, NBA player and coach and long-time Pacers announcer. His famous "Boom Baby" is beloved by fans of all generations. 

Leonard had recently survived an abdominal aortic aneurysm and spoke to 13News Anchor Anne Marie Tiernon about trying to raise awareness for others. 

Bobby and Nancy Leonard would have celebrated 67 years of marriage this summer.

"The blessing in my life was to go to Indiana University my freshman year and run into this little gal," Leonard said in a recent interview with 13News. "This June 15, we will be married for 67 years. She means everything to me."  

Leonard was born July 17, 1932 in Terre Haute. He grew up to play basketball at Indiana University where he hit a game-winning free throw to win the 1953 NCAA championship. 

Leonard played seven years in the pros with the Lakers and in Chicago. He then began coaching and made his way back to Indiana to coach the Pacers for 12 years. He even led the team to three ABA championships.

Leonard returned to the Pacers in 1985 as a commentator and stayed with with the Pacers until his passing.

Bobby "Slick" Leonard was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.

Pacers owners Herb Simon, Steve Simon, and the Simon Family released a statement about his passing.

"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.”

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