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INDIANAPOLIS — April 13 is a tough day for the Indiana Pacers and fans. It was one year ago when they lost an icon, a pillar of the franchise in Slick Leonard.

He passed away in his sleep at 88 years old.

Leonard was from Terre Haute, Indiana. He attended Indiana University and helped the Hoosiers win the 1953 NCAA National Championship. He later coached the Pacers (1968-80) and guided the franchise to three ABA titles (1970, 1972, 1973).

He was heard behind a microphone on Pacers broadcasts for 36 years and coined the popular phrase, BOOM BABY!

One month following his death, the franchise held a celebration of life at Gainbridge Fieldhouse for his family, along with his Pacers family. “Everything you’ve seen and heard about him is actually true,” said Darnell Hillman.

Former Pacers head coach Frank Vogel spoke about his close relationship with the Leonards when the Lakers played in Indy last season.

Then May 29 was Slick Leonard Day, a nod to his 529 wins as Pacers head coach, the most in franchise history.

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Just last month, Nancy Leonard was awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash — the highest honor given out by the Governor of Indiana.

And here's a video I produced from his return to The Fieldhouse in 2018.


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