Legendary Pacers head coach and broadcaster Bob "Slick" Leonard was formally inducted into Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday, August 8, 2014.
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The Hall Finally Has a Slick Spot

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer

Speaking from the heart, rather than a printed page, Bobby “Slick” Leonard was formally inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. on Friday.

“I may not be the oldest to be inducted in the Hall of Fame, but I bet I'm in the top five,” the 82-year-old Leonard said, probably accurately.

Leonard, who helped Indiana University to the NCAA championship in 1953 and coached the Pacers to three ABA championships, was the third person to be inducted during the ceremony. He spoke for 30 minutes, telling stories from his childhood, playing career and coaching career, and thanked his family and the fans of Indiana.

He was presented by fellow Hall of Famers Mel Daniels, the center on all three of the Pacers' title teams, and Pacers president Larry Bird, who Leonard nearly drafted for the Pacers following Bird's junior season at Indiana State in 1978.

Like Nolan Richardson and Gary Williams before him, Leonard spoke for 30 minutes.

“I don't know where the chairs are, boys,” Leonard said with a smile while turning toward Daniels and Bird as he began his speech, letting everyone know he was going to take his time.

He had a lifetime of stories to draw from. He told of the childhood prank of putting a snake in a neighbor woman's outhouse and then waiting to watch her bolt out of it … of the eight neighbors who survived World War II and put up a goal behind a neighbor's house where he honed his game … of hitting the game-winning foul shot in IU's championship win over Kansas after missing the first one, where he rebutted coach Branch McCracken's comment by saying he had ice water in his veins by saying, “If that was ice water, it sure felt warm when it was running down my leg,” … of George McGinnis deliberately running over Spurs guard George Karl in a playoff game in San Antonio.

Leonard, who was born and raised in Terre Haute, played college basketball in Bloomington, married a girl from South Bend, and has lived in Kokomo and Indianapolis (in the same house since 1969), gave special thanks to the fans of Indiana.

“I've had a love affair with the fans and people in the state of Indiana, and I wish it could last forever,” he said. “But I know better than that.”

He also provided a glimpse of his competitive nature when he mentioned his family's outing to the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut on Sunday.

“Those blackjack dealers better be careful with me, or I'll own the joint,” Leonard said.

Finally, Leonard gave a quick example of his flair for poetry.

“For me it took awhile, but I'm going out in style,” he said.


Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.

Bobby Leonard Hall of Fame Speech

Bobby Leonard delivers his acceptance speech at the 2014 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony.

Bobby Slick Leonard - Videos

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Bobby Leonard Hall of Fame Speech

Bobby Leonard delivers his acceptance speech at the 2014 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony.
Aug 7, 2014  |  00:00

Frank Vogel: It's a Great Time for the Franchise and Slick

August 8, 2014 - Pacers.com's Mark Boyle chats with Frank Vogel about Bobby "Slick" Leonard's coaching career at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
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Dan Burke: Slick, Nancy Had Big Impact on Pacers History

August 8, 2014 - Pacers.com's Mark Boyle talks with assistant coach Dan Burke about the lasting impact that Bobby "Slick" Leonard and wife Nancy had on the franchise.
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Look back at Bobby ''Slick'' Leonard's career as he is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
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Red Carpet Show: Larry Bird

Larry Bird talks about how proud he is of Bobby "Slick" Leonard being enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
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Mel Daniels on Slick in Hall of Fame: "It's About Time"

August 8, 2014 - Pacers.com's Mark Boyle gets reaction from Mel Daniels ahead of Bobby "Slick" Leonard's induction into the Hall of Fame.
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Hall of Fame News Conference Introductions

The Class of 2014 is introduced at the Hall of Fame news conference.
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Hall of Fame News Conference

Listen to the Class of 2014 as they speak at the Hall of Fame news conference.
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Slick: "It's an honor for our family."

August 7, 2014 - Bobby "Slick" Leonard sits down with Mark Boyle in an extended interview at the 2014 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement to talk about what it means to be inducted.
Aug 7, 2014  |  07:56

Stern: "I'm honored to be here with him."

August 7, 2014 - Former NBA Commissioner David Stern talks about Bobby "Slick" Leonard and what it means to be inducted in to the 2014 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame alongside him.
Aug 7, 2014  |  01:02

"Heart of a Hoosier" World Premiere

July 29, 2014 - Pacers.com's Eddie White speaks with VIP guests attending the world premiere of "Bobby 'Slick' Leonard: Heart of a Hoosier."
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Bobby "Slick" Leonard: "This is a Special Night"

July 29, 2014 - Pacers.com's Eddie White talks with Bobby "Slick" Leonard prior to the world premiere of the documentary chronicling his legendary playing, coaching and broadcasting career.
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July 29, 2014 - Nancy Leonard reflects on Slick Leonard's basketball career prior to the world premiere of the documentary "Bobby 'Slick' Leonard: Heart of a Hoosier."
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Filmmaker Ted Green Excited for Heart of a Hoosier Premiere

July 29, 2014 - Indianapolis filmmaker Ted Green talks about the excitement leading up to the world premiere of his latest film "Bobby 'Slick' Leonard: Heart of a Hoosier."
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Mark Boyle Reflects on Working Alongside Slick Leonard

July 29, 2014 - Pacers radio broadcaster Mark Boyle talks about working alongside Bobby "Slick" Leonard and shares a unique story from the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals.
Jul 29, 2014  |  02:42

Mark Montieth Shares His Favorite Slick Leonard Story

July 29, 2014 - Pacers.com writer Mark Montieth shares his favorite story and memories of Slick Leonard's basketball career.
Jul 29, 2014  |  01:45

Slick Leonard: "A Hoosier Icon"

July 29, 2014 - President and CEO of WFYI, Lloyd Wright discusses his thoughts on 'Slick' before the world premiere of "Heart of a Hoosier."
Jul 29, 2014  |  01:29

Ed Bonach: Slick Is a "Living Legend"

July 29, 2014 - CEO of CNO Financial Group, Inc., Ed Bonach, discusses Bobby "Slick" Leonard's legacy and thoughts prior to the world premiere of "Heart of a Hoosier."
Jul 29, 2014  |  01:00

Robin Miller Discusses Slick Leonard's Career

July 29, 2014 - Former pacers beat writer Robin Miller discusses Slick Leonard's coaching career election to the Hall of Fame.
Jul 29, 2014  |  02:06

Slick Leonard Elected to Hall of Fame

February 14, 2014 - Legendary Pacers head coach Bob "Slick" Leonard is named as a 2014 electee to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Feb 14, 2014  |  00:32

Boyle Pays Tribute to Slick on Hall Nod

February 14, 2014 - The Voice of the Pacers, Mark Boyle, pays tribute to Pacers legend Bobby "Slick" Leonard on getting elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Feb 14, 2014  |  00:40

Hall of Fame Press Conference: Bobby “Slick” Leonard

February 14, 2014 - Pacers legend Bobby “Slick” Leonard talks to the media after the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced that he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame after being vote
Feb 14, 2014  |  14:47

Mel Daniels on Bobby Leonard’s Hall of Fame Induction

February 14, 2014 – Former Pacers player and Hall of Famer Mel Daniels talks about Bobby “Slick” Leonard’s coaching career after it was announced that Leonard will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in
Feb 14, 2014  |  02:13

Darnell Hillman on Slick Leonard’s Coaching Career

February 14, 2014 – Former Pacers player Darnell Hillman talks about what it was like to play for coach Bobby “Slick” Leonard and his impact on the history of basketball in Indiana.
Feb 14, 2014  |  02:22

Colangelo on Slick Leonard's Election to Hall of Fame

February 14, 2014 - Hall of Famer and USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo reacts to Slick Leonard's election to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Feb 14, 2014  |  01:25

Vogel on Slick Leonard's Election to Hall of Fame

February 14, 2014 - Pacers head coach Frank Vogel reacts to Bob "Slick" Leonard's election to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Feb 14, 2014  |  01:03

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