Tuesday night was the premiere of the documentary Bobby Slick Leonard: Heart of a Hoosier. It was displayed on the jumbo screens at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Leonard will forever be an icon in Indiana. He was known for his celebrated outfits, success as a coach as well as the phrase “Boom Baby.” The documentary was spearheaded by sports writer Ted Green. Green talked about what he wanted get out of this documentary with Vigilant Sports.
“With Bob Leonard, it’s really been a celebration – but also, I was just curious about this guy’s past,” Green said ahead of the world premiere Tuesday evening at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. ”I was curious why he has the hold he does on people in this state. What is it about him, and finding out he became the man he is. Man, it’s been so much fun, it’s been a great privilege to work on this and to get to know Bob and Nancy.”
To get the full spiel, Green spoke to Larry Bird, Reggie Miller, Jerry West, Mel Daniels, Bob Netolicky, Tom Crean, Senator Richard Lugar, and Elgin Baylor.
The film covers how Leonard got his nickname, his game-winning shot in the 1954 NCAA title game while at Indiana University, and other stories from his time with the Pacers.
“Everybody’s childhood shapes them, but I think with Bob it was an extreme just because of the time in which he grew up in,” said Green, who traveled to Terre Haute with Slick and his family. “We are talking about the Great Depression, and he and his family were very, very poor. It would have been so easy for Bob to go the wrong way, as he’s the first one to say. He had a lot of help from a lot of great people. People that didn’t have a lot of money but they just helped out this kid who was in need, and because of that, he became the person he is. And the person he is, is one who has been helping out other people and giving great joy to other people for the 60 years since his childhood.”
Those who missed the premiere can see the film on WFYI on August 7 at 9:00 pm.
Leonard played seven seasons for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Packers and Chicago Zephyrs. He averaged 9.9 points, 2,9 rebounds, 3.3 assists over 27.3 minutes per game. He also suited up with Elgin Baylor and Jerry West in his final two seasons as a Laker.
Here are photos from the memorable night:
In case you missed it.
Click here to watch Pacers.com talk with VIP guests at the premiere of Bobby “Slick” Leonard at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
In the video above Leonard speaks about his upcoming Hall of Fame induction.