Bobby 'Slick' Leonard

An icon in an iconic spot: Bobby “Slick” Leonard poses beside the marker outside the old Gerstmeyer High School gymnasium on the north side of Terre Haute. A Gerstmeyer grad, Leonard starred for Indiana University, went on to play in the NBA and coached the Indiana Pacers to three ABA titles. He also was the Pacers’ longtime color commentator on radio and television.

Pacers Sports & Entertainment will host "Boom Baby! The Life and Times of Bobby 'Slick' Leonard, a public celebration of life for Hall of Fame coach and broadcaster Bobby “Slick” Leonard on May 12 in Bankers Life Fieldhouse at Indianapolis.

Leonard, a Terre Haute native, died April 13. He was 88.

Tickets go on sale for $5.29 each at at 10 a.m. Friday, May 7, with all proceeds going to the Dropping Dimes Foundation benefitting former ABA players and personnel. Attendance will be limited to 1,500 guests due to COVID protocols, but the celebration will also be livestreamed at for those unable to attend. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

“While we continue to mourn his passing and miss his always colorful presence, we look forward to offering a public farewell to one of the most impactful figures in our state’s basketball history,” said PS&E President Rick Fuson. “We also want to offer up one last ‘Boom Baby’ in Slick’s honor.”

Leonard led Indiana University to the 1953 national championship, coached the Pacers to three American Basketball Association titles and later served as the team’s radio analyst.

Video tributes from former Pacers players and basketball dignitaries and clips from the 2014 WFYI Ted Green Films documentary “Heart of a Hoosier” will be featured. Mark Boyle, the Pacers’ radio voice and Leonard’s long-time broadcast partner, will serve as master of ceremonies.

Per the family’s wishes, Leonard’s calling and services were private and he was interred at Southlawn Cemetery in South Bend on April 22.

“Boom Baby” was Leonard’s trademark radio call punctuating a made 3-point field goal by a Pacers player. In addition to coaching the Pacers to the three American Basketball Association championships, Leonard and his wife, Nancy, also played major roles in keeping the Pacers in Indianapolis after the team encountered financial difficulties following the ABA's merger into the National Basketball Association.

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