Randy Smith (basketball)
|No. 9, 7|
|Guard / Small forward|
December 12, 1948|
Bellport, New York
|Died||June 4, 2009
|Listed height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Listed weight||180 lb (82 kg)|
|High school||Bellport (Brookhaven, New York)|
|College||Buffalo State (1968–1971)|
|NBA draft||1971 / Round: 7 / Pick: 104th overall|
|Selected by the Buffalo Braves|
|Pro playing career||1971–1983|
|1971–1979||Buffalo Braves / San Diego Clippers|
|1981–1982||New York Knicks|
|1982–1983||San Diego Clippers|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||16,262 (16.7 ppg)|
|Assists||4,487 (4.6 rpg)|
|Steals||1,403 (1.7 spg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Randolph "Randy" Smith (December 12, 1948 – June 4, 2009) was an American professional basketball player who set the NBA record for consecutive games played. From 1972-1982, Smith played in every regular season game, en route to a then-record of 906 straight games (since broken by A. C. Green). He was born in Bellport, New York.
Smith was an outstanding all-around athlete at Buffalo State College, earning All-American honors in three sports: basketball, soccer and track. (At Bellport High School on Long Island, Smith was a standout on the soccer and basketball teams, and set a state high jump record of 6-foot-6.) However, it was on the basketball court that Smith shone brightest, teaming with Durie Burns to lead the Bengals to three straight conference championships, including a trip to the Final Four of the NCAA Division II Tournament in 1970, where Smith earned All-Tournament honors.
By national standards, Buffalo State was a small, obscure school, and it was only because of the local connection that Smith was drafted to the NBA at all. In 1971, he was selected by the Buffalo Braves in the seventh round (104th pick overall) of the NBA Draft.
Smith surprised everyone in training camp, and he made the final roster cuts. Despite standing only 6-foot-3, he was assigned to play forward. He averaged 13.4 points per game in his rookie season. Smith continued to improve beyond expectation, drawing on his tremendous speed, quickness and leaping ability. His style of play, along with contemporaries like Julius Erving, marked by fast breaks and "above the rim" ball movements influenced the offense style of the NBA in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Playing alongside league scoring champion Bob McAdoo, Smith averaged 21.8 points per game in the 1975-76 season, and was named to the All-NBA Second Team.
Smith played for seven years for the Braves until the franchise was shifted to the San Diego Clippers in 1978. That first year with the Clippers, Smith had his fourth consecutive season averaging over 20 points per game.
In 1979, Smith was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he was named team captain and played for two years. He spent the 1981 season with the New York Knicks, before moving back to San Diego for another season. Smith retired from professional basketball in 1983 after playing fifteen games for the Atlanta Hawks.
In early 1975 at age 26, while nearing the height of his basketball career, Smith turned lots of heads at a tryout for the expansion Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League. Rowdies' management had hoped to sign the 2-time college soccer All-American for the outdoor season as one of their "required" American players; however his contract with the Braves would not allow him to play professional soccer at the time. A year later while in between basketball contracts, the Rowdies gave him another look. But it wasn't meant to be. After a third and final tryout in 1977, Rowdies coach Eddie Firmani felt that the combination of playing pro basketball and not playing any soccer for so long had diminished Smith's soccer skills too much.
After retiring as a player, Smith was an N.B.A. league executive whose duties included assisting former players in need, and he was a coach in the Continental Basketball Association before working at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, where he worked in promotion.
- Goldstein, Richard (June 6, 2009), "Randy Smith, N.B.A. Iron Man, Dies at 60", The New York Times
- Northrop, Milt (June 4, 2009), "Randy Smith, former Brave, dies at 60", The Buffalo News[dead link]
- Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame
- The book "Buffalo, Home of the Braves", complete narrative and photo history of the Buffalo Braves