Mel Daniels, American basketball player, Died at 71


Melvin Joe Daniels was born on July 20, 1944, and died on October 30, 2015.

He was an American professional basketball player.

He played in the American Basketball Association (ABA) for the Minnesota Muskies, Indiana Pacers, and Memphis Sounds, and in the National Basketball Association for the New York Nets.

Daniels was a two-time ABA Most Valuable Player and a seven-time ABA All-Star.

He was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.

Daniels attended Pershing High School in Detroit, Michigan, which also produced players like Spencer Haywood, Ralph Simpson, Kevin Willis, and Steve Smith.

Daniels then played for the University of New Mexico Lobos basketball team from 1964–67.

He was the ninth pick of the 1967 NBA draft, selected by the Cincinnati Royals, and was also drafted by the Minnesota Muskies of the American Basketball Association (ABA). He chose to play in the fledgling ABA.

Daniels was the ABA Rookie of the Year for the 1967 to 1968 season before being traded to the Indiana Pacers, then of the ABA and now in the NBA.

Daniels was the ABA Most Valuable Player in both 1969 and 1971 and led the Pacers to three ABA championships.

Daniels played in seven ABA All-Star Games, and was named the ABA All-Star Game MVP in the 1971 game.

Daniels led the ABA in rebounding average in three different seasons, and is the ABA’s all-time leader in total rebounds (9,494) and career rebounding average (15.1 rebounds per game).

Daniels also grabbed 1608 career post season rebounds, ranking in the top twelve in professional basketball history.

Daniels played briefly for the NBA’s New York Nets in the 1976–77 season.

After his playing days, Daniels joined the coaching staff of his college coach, Bob King, at Indiana State, where he coached future Hall of Famer Larry Bird.

Daniels joined the Indiana Pacers front office in 1986 and was the team’s Director of Player Personnel until October 2009.

Mel passed away at age 71 in October 2015.