POSTED: Oct 30, 2015 5:30 PM ET
Mel Daniels 1944-2015
Hall of Famer Mel Daniels died Friday at age 71. Daniels led the Pacers to three ABA championships.
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Pacers today are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former center Mel Daniels, a stalwart on the team's three American Basketball Association championship teams and a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Daniels died Friday in Sheridan, Ind. He was 71. He is survived by his wife, CeCe and family.
"I join our extended Pacers family in offering my sincerest condolences to CeCe and Mel's family," said Pacers Sports & Entertainment owner Herb Simon. "We will miss him greatly, but when we look at that Hall of Fame banner in Bankers Life Fieldhouse, we will be forever reminded of what he meant to this franchise."
Daniels was twice named the ABA's MVP (1969 and 1971). He played six seasons with the Pacers, averaging 19.4 points and 16.0 rebounds per game.
A four-time All-ABA selection, Daniels was named to the First Team in 1969, 1970 and 1971, and was a Second Team pick in 1973. He also was named the ABA All-Star Game MVP in 1971 and was the ABA's first Rookie of the Year in 1968 while playing with Minnesota. He is the Pacers' all-time leading rebounder in the ABA (7,643) and he holds the Pacers' ABA record for rebounds in a single season (1,475 in 1970-71).
He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico.
Following the end of his playing career, he joined the basketball staff of the Pacers. He also was an avid horse enthusiast.
His jersey number was retired on November 2, 1985. In September 2012, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.