The simple mention of the name Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard in Indiana University basketball circles is always something that is accompanied with a great deal of pride.
Leonard represents the best of Indiana University basketball. He was a two-time All-American at IU and starred on the 1953 national championship team. He was one of six IU athletes inducted into the first class of the Indiana University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1982. He was named to IU’s All-Century team in 2000.
Now the life and times of Leonard will take center stage next week when the film, Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard: Heart of a Hoosier will make its world premier on Tuesday, July 29, at 7 p.m. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. This special public screening is being presented by WFYI Public Media, in partnership with the Indiana Pacers and CNO Financial Group. Tickets are $5.29 (in honor of Leonard’s 529 career wins!), and are now on sale through TicketMaster online or you may charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000.
You may also get tickets by visiting the Bankers Life Fieldhouse Box Office. Free event parking will be available at the Virginia Street Garage.
A press release put out by the Indiana Pacers opened with the following paragraph:
Bobby “Slick” Leonard is Indiana basketball. No one better embodies its toughness; no one better personifies its passion. And no one takes more pride in being a Hoosier. Now, Leonard’s extraordinary life story is the subject of a new WFYI Public Television documentary by award-winning producer Ted Green, whose film credits include Undefeated: The Roger Brown Story, John Wooden: The Indiana Story and Naptown to Super City.
In addition to seeing the 90-minute documentary in its entirety, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from the legend himself, Bobby “Slick” Leonard, and others who have contributed to the film. As part of the evening’s festivities, the Fieldhouse’s food court concession stands will be open, the Pacers’ hardwood court will be on display, and the Pacemates, along with the team’s beloved mascot, Boomer, will make special appearances.
Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard: Heart of a Hoosier features an all-star cast that includes Larry Bird, Jerry West, Reggie Miller, Senator Richard Lugar, Tommy John and Elgin Baylor. Through captivating interviews and a rich collection of archival footage, the film captures in vivid detail the epic events and historic milestones that helped shape Leonard’s extraordinary career in basketball.
The highly-anticipated film will mark its broadcast premiere on WFYI 1 Public Television on Thursday, August 7 at 9 pm – a date that coincides with the 81-year-old Leonard’s formal induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. A brief preview of the program can be viewed online at wfyi.org/slick.
Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard: Heart of a Hoosier is produced by Ted Green Films, in collaboration with WFYI Public Television. The film is presented by the Indiana Pacers, CNO Financial Group and The Samerian Foundation and The Herbert Simon Family Foundation. Contributing sponsors include: Donald Moffitt, Peter Obremskey, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, James Dye and Jeff Smulyan.
Here is some extra info provided by Ted Green, the producer of the film and former assistant sports editor at the Indianapolis Star:
Green gave a more detailed cast list. He said it includes Larry Bird, Richard Lugar, Reggie Miller, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Bob Pettit, Clyde Lovellette, Terry Dischinger, Sam Jones, Ron Thorn, Charlie Kraak (fellow starter on the ’53 IU team that recently passed away), Phil Byers (also played on the ’53 IU team), Dick Rosenthal, Bob Hammel, Mel Daniels, Bob Netolicky, George McGinnis, Billy Keller, Robin Miller, Bill Benner and more.
Green said there is also “a brief but cool appearance by Tom Crean as well.”
Green said a few notes of IU interest included that one of the interviews was filmed with Leonard at the old IU Fieldhouse where he played. There is great footage of Leonard from throughout college, much of which hasn’t been aired since then, and there’s footage of Leonard and his extended family attending an IU game from this past season.
If you can be in Indianapolis on Tuesday for the World Premier at Bankers Life Fieldhouse you will not be disappointed.