Bobby “Slick” Leonard will finally be getting his due on Aug. 8th when he’s inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame with the Class of 2014. The three time ABA champion coach and Indiana native will be presented into the Hall on Friday by Larry Bird and Mel Daniels.
Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard will be presented by Larry Bird and Mel Daniels at his @Hoophall induction Friday night.
— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) August 5, 2014
In case you need a quicker refresher, Slick hit the game winning free throws to give the Hoosiers the 1953 NCAA championship before going on to coach the Indiana Pacers to three ABA titles in 1970, 1972, and 1973. He recently was the subject of Bobby “Slick” Leonard: Heart of a Hoosier, a documentary by Ted Green. Leonard has a 574-534 record as a basketball coach.
If you really want to dig into the legend of Slick, read Mark Montieth’s two-part story on Pacers.com.
It’s one of his favorite sayings, advice awarded to so many players over so many years that it comes back to him like an undying echo.
“Don’t get off the bus.”
It’s Slick Leonard’s way of reminding NBA players to stay in the game, in whatever capacity they can, for as long as someone will have them, because they’ll never find a job as exciting as being employed in basketball. You can own a business, you can work 9 to 5 for someone else, maybe you can do absolutely nothing for the rest of your life, but why would you do that when you can be paid for being in basketball? Play it, coach it, broadcast it, scout it, administrate it, hell, sweep up after it if you have to, but don’t get off the team bus. Even if you’re only metaphorically riding it.
Many of the players on the receiving end of all those little advice assists over the years bring it back to him when they see Leonard at games today, regardless of what they’re doing in the game and who’s paying them to do it.
“Hey, Slick! I’m still on the bus!”
Mel and Bird won’t be the only Pacers presenting on Friday as Chris Mullin will introduce both Mitch Richmond and Sarunas Marciulionis. Bird will also be presenting former commissioner David Stern.