Bob Lanier, 73, Hall of Fame centre, died.

Bob Lanier, a left-handed big man who dominated the NBA in the 1970s alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, died Tuesday. 73.

The NBA said the legendary centre died after a brief illness. The Hall of Famer and eight-time All-Star was a global ambassador for the NBA.

Lanier had a career average of 20.1 points and 10.1 rebounds with the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks.

He's third all-time in points and rebounds for the Pistons. After leading St. Bonaventure to the Final Four, Detroit drafted Lanier first overall in 1970.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Lanier was one of the league's best centres and that his achievements went beyond the court.

The former global ambassador and special assistant to David Stern and then me spent over 30 years travelling the world to teach the game's values and make a positive impact on young people, Silver said.

I did it for Bob, who was one of the kindest and most genuine people I've ever met.

Lanier, a big man at 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, used his bulk to his advantage.

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