Remembering Bobby "Slick" Leonard
The basketball world and the state of Indiana are mourning the passing of Hall of Fame coach and broadcaster Bobby "Slick" Leonard. Leonard, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 88, was an Indiana icon who starred at Indiana University, had a successful NBA career, and then spent over 50 years with the Pacers franchise, leading the team to three ABA championships as a coach and entertaining generations on radio broadcasts.
After the news of Leonard's passing, a number of prominent names from the franchise, state, and the greater basketball community took to Twitter to share their memories of Leonard and express their condolences.
Pacers Sports & Entertainment owner and alternate governor Steve Simon:
— Stephen Simon (@stephenhsimon) April 13, 2021
Pacers radio voice Mark Boyle:
There are no words to adequately express the impact Slick has had on me over the years. As heartbroken as we all are today, my love, respect, and admiration for this man make me smile. I’m forever grateful to you, my friend. pic.twitter.com/C8dt6XPZcy
— Mark Joseph Boyle (@Mark_J_Boyle) April 13, 2021
Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren:
Coach Bjorkgren on Slick Leonard's passing. pic.twitter.com/146F0svGFr
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) April 13, 2021
Indiana governor Eric Holcomb:
Slick Leonard is an Indiana icon. He was the embodiment of basketball with his wide-ranging career starting with his days as a high school player in Terre Haute, going on to @IUBloomington to win a college national championship, and then his career with the @NBA 1/2 https://t.co/l3P0vQXDfM
— Governor Eric Holcomb (@GovHolcomb) April 13, 2021
Indianapolis mayor Joe Hogsett:
The story of basketball in Indiana cannot be told without Slick Leonard, whose incomparable legacy stretched across 8 decades. We join the @Pacers and the Indy sports community in sending condolences to his family, while celebrating his Hall of Fame impact on our city.
— Mayor Joe Hogsett (@IndyMayorJoe) April 13, 2021
The NBA mourns the passing of Hall of Famer Bobby “Slick” Leonard, a beloved member of the Indiana Pacers organization for more than 50 years. A hard-nosed player, legendary coach and insightful broadcaster, Bobby had a profound impact on the game. Condolences to his loved ones. pic.twitter.com/pvZIhxSvs9
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) April 13, 2021
Pacers radio broadcaster Pat Boylan:
One of the absolute most-cherished parts of the job is the 7 years I got to spend with Slick. Considering his impact on the game, how fitting that he never had to leave the game of basketball, he was on the broadcast with us less than 48 hours ago.
Rest In Peace, Legend. pic.twitter.com/7vk0lKBbrJ
— Pat Boylan (@PatBoylanPacers) April 13, 2021
Bally Sports Indiana play-by-play announcer Chris Denari:
No better person to represent IU, @Pacers, our city, our state than Slick Leonard. An icon. Responsible w/ Nancy for saving the franchise. Very fortunate to meet him 40+ years ago; he and my dad were classmates at IU. My thoughts and prayers are w/ Nancy and the Leonard family. pic.twitter.com/FJjLw8IfwD
— Chris Denari (@ChrisDenari) April 13, 2021
Bally Sports Indiana sideline reporter Jeremiah Johnson:
Every time I heard Slick Leonard talk, I felt the emotions of basketball. His voice was like shoes squeaking on a gym floor, the sound of the ball swishing through the net, the smell of popcorn in the gym. Slick Leonard loved this state & our great game, and EVERYONE loved Slick.
— Jeremiah Johnson (@PacersJJ) April 13, 2021
Colts owner Jim Irsay:
Rest In Peace to the great and classy Slick Leonard. Hoosier icon and gentleman. Our hearts go out to wife Nancy, kids, grandkids, great-grandkids and the Pacers organization.
— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) April 14, 2021
IndyStar columnist Gregg Doyel:
Slick Leonard is uniquely responsible for downtown Indianapolis being the amazing place it is. I told that story here. RIP to a great man and condolences to Nancy, the love of his life:https://t.co/Tvo07463x6
— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelStar) April 13, 2021
"Query & Schultz" co-host Derek Schultz:
Slick Leonard is the most important sports figure in Indianapolis history. More than Peyton and Reggie, because without Slick, there’s a strong chance neither would’ve had professional careers in this city.
It’s impossible to overstate his impact. R.I.P. to an Indiana legend
— Derek Schultz (@Schultz975) April 13, 2021
Former Pacers head coach Frank Vogel:
Frank Vogel says he will be coaching “with a heavy heart,” as he remembers the life of Bobby “Slick” Leonard, the former Indiana Pacers coach and broadcaster, whose death, at the age of 88, was announced Tuesday. Vogel will wear a pin with Slick’s “Boom Baby” phrase on it tonight pic.twitter.com/nk8h0CLU07
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 13, 2021
Former Pacers guard Mark Jackson:
Absolute Legend!!! Total Class! Praying for the Family, Friends, and Fans of Slick. He was the Best! https://t.co/ADLoywHa7n
— Mark Jackson (@MarkJackson13) April 13, 2021
Celtics coach Brad Stevens:
Indiana native Brad Stevens on Slick Leonard: “The best way I can describe him to the people in the Northeast is he was our Tommy Heinsohn. When Reggie (Miller) hit a three and the whole place would go ‘Boom Baby,’ that was Slick Leonard." #Celtics #Pacers
— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) April 14, 2021
Indiana University men's basketball coach Mike Woodson:
Coach Woodson on the legacy of Bobby “Slick” Leonard: pic.twitter.com/djnIsWxWia
— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) April 13, 2021
Former Pacers PA announcer Michael Grady:
And you all know how much fun we had on the radio show with Slick
Sad day, man. Feel free to share your favorite stories - memories, moments. I’m reading EVERY Slick story today.
Sending prayers to Nancy & the Leonard family. His Pacers family, MJB, & everyone he touched.
— Michael Grady (@Grady) April 13, 2021
WTHR sports director Dave Calabro:
— dave calabro (@calabro13sports) April 13, 2021
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame:
The Hall of Fame celebrates the life and deeply mourns the passing of Bobby “Slick” Leonard, Class of 2014. pic.twitter.com/bAQp779yNd
— Basketball HOF (@Hoophall) April 13, 2021
ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale:
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) April 13, 2021
In Memoriam: Bobby “Slick” Leonard (1932-2021) pic.twitter.com/ICXtoRWZpe
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) April 14, 2021
Watch Documentary: Bobby 'Slick' Leonard: Heart of a Hoosier is available for streaming now.