INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- Indiana Pacers great and Hall of Fame center, Mel Daniels, has passed away at the age of 71. The cause of death is currently unknown, but he was at the home opener for the Indiana Pacers on Thursday against the Memphis Grizzlies. Daniels had open heart surgery earlier this month, so that likely had something to do with it. It is so unfortunate because Daniels was such a great person and an active member of the Pacers organization throughout the years.
Mel Daniels played eight seasons in the ABA and played an 11-game period in the NBA during his final season of professional basketball. He started with the Minnesota Muskies for a season, but then spent a six-year run with the Indiana Pacers. Daniels then went to the Memphis Sounds for a season, the final year of his ABA career. Daniels played his final season with the New Jersey Nets of the NBA, as he played just 11 games with them before retiring.
Mel is regarded as one of the best players in Pacers franchise history, as well as a member of the best duo in Pacers history (Mel Daniels and Roger Brown) too.
Mel Daniels Career Highlights:
Daniels was a seven-time ABA All-Star (1967-1974), three-time ABA champion with the Indiana Pacers (1969-70, 1971-72, 1972-73), ABA Rookie of the Year (1967-68), ABA All-Rookie Team Selection (1968), four-time All-ABA First Team selection (1968-1971), ABA All-Star Game MVP (1969), All-ABA Second Team (1973), ABA All-Time Team Selection, and a two-time ABA MVP (1969 & 1971).
Mel made his mark on Pacers franchise history. In fact, he still owns franchise records to this day in the following categories; minutes per game (37.1), player efficiency rating (20.1), rebounds per game (16.0), total rebounds (7,643), defensive rebounds (5,461), and total rebound percentage (19.5). Daniels is one of four players in the history of the Pacers organization to have his jersey retired. The franchise has his #34 jersey number retired.
For more statistical information on Mel Daniels, visit his page on Basketball-Reference:
Mel Daniels was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts as a member of the 2012 induction class on February 24, 2012.