Mel Daniels, Basketball Hall of Famer, Dies at Age 71

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistOctober 30, 2015

Indiana Pacers Hall of Famer Mels Daniels, right, speaks as coach Bobby
Associated Press

Mel Daniels, a nine-year veteran of the NBA and ABA, died Friday at the age of 71. 

Per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, the Indiana Pacers released an official statement on Daniels' death:

Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpearsESPN

Pacers release on passing of Mel Daniels. https://t.co/7xOJbLg49t

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence also expressed his condolences to Daniels' family and talked about the former basketball star's impact on the state:

Governor Mike Pence @GovPenceIN

Our thoughts & prayers are with the family of @Pacers icon Mel Daniels. His contributions to the game & IN community leave a lasting legacy

Daniels spent most of his career with the Pacers, having been traded to the team from the Minnesota Muskies in 1968 after he was named ABA Rookie of the Year. The star center helped lead Indiana to three ABA titles in four years from 1969-73. 

In 639 career games with Minnesota, Indiana and the New York Nets, Daniels averaged 18.4 points and 14.9 rebounds per game. He led the ABA in rebounding three times and averaged at least 15.4 rebounds per game in each of his first six seasons. 

After retiring in 1977, Daniels transitioned into coaching and worked as an assistant at Indiana State during Larry Bird's time at the school. He also briefly coached the Pacers in 1988, posting an 0-2 record before George Irvine took over. 

Daniels was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.