Rik Smits

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Rik Smits
RikSmits headshot.jpg
Smits in 2008
Personal information
Born (1966-08-23) August 23, 1966 (age 51)
Eindhoven, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Listed height 7 ft 4 in (2.24 m)
Listed weight 250 lb (113 kg)
Career information
College Marist (1984–1988)
NBA draft 1988 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd overall
Selected by the Indiana Pacers
Playing career 1988–2000
Position Center
Number 24, 45
Career history
19882000 Indiana Pacers
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 12,871 (14.8 ppg)
Rebounds 5,277 (6.1 rpg)
Blocks 1,111 (1.3 bpg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Rik Smits, nicknamed The Dunking Dutchman (born August 23, 1966), is a retired Dutch professional basketball player who spent his entire professional career with the Indiana Pacers of the National Basketball Association. The 7'4" (2.24 m) center was drafted by the Pacers out of Marist College[1] with the second overall pick in the 1988 NBA draft.[2] An NBA All-Star in 1998, Smits reached the NBA Finals in 2000.

Career[edit]

Rik Smits and Ruud Harrewijn (1986)

Smits was born in Eindhoven. He started playing basketball at age fourteen at PSV/Almonte in Eindhoven. Smits left for the United States in 1984, where he played for Marist College for four years. He got drafted 2nd overall in the 1988 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers.

With the Pacers, Smits originally backed up Steve Stipanovich, but when Stipanovich suffered a career-ending injury, Smits ended up starting 71 games in his rookie year, averaging 11.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game and earning All-Rookie First Team honors. Smits continued to average double-digit point totals in every year of his career, but it wasn't until the 1993–94 NBA season that Smits really came into his own as a team leader.

Throughout the Pacers' playoff runs in the mid and late 1990s, Smits was considered the number two player, behind Reggie Miller, on the deeply talented Pacers team. Smits' highest point-per-game average was in 1995–96 when he averaged 18.5 points per game, relatively modest by NBA "superstar" standards, but the Dutchman endeared himself to Pacers fans with outstanding playoff performances, most notably in Game 4 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals where he made a buzzer-beating shot to tie the series.

Smits was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team in 1998, delivering 10 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists, including a spectacular behind-the-back pass to New Jersey Nets forward Jayson Williams who followed immediately with a slam dunk.

Smits developed nerve damage in his feet from wearing tight shoes as a teenager.[3] Foot problems hobbled Smits for the majority of his career, and he retired at the conclusion of the Pacers' 1999–2000 season, after Indiana was defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals 4 games to 2.

Rik Smits visits Marist College on Alumni Day.

After four surgeries to repair nerve damage to his feet, Smits underwent intensive back surgery in November 2009 to correct cracks in one joint that link his vertebrae. Smits has also undergone arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and had bone chips removed from his left ankle.[3]

Smits was selected to the Pacers' 40th Anniversary Team, which was chosen by the fans. He ended up with the fourth most votes, trailing only Reggie Miller, Mel Daniels and Jermaine O'Neal.

Smits became the most successful Dutch basketball player ever, as well as the country's best paid professional athlete of all time with an estimated accumulated capital of more than 125 million dollars.

Life after the NBA[edit]

After his retirement, Smits is devoting his time to collecting and racing vintage motocross motorcycles.[4] On November 30, 2011, Smits was featured in Yahoo! Sports, about his formal participation in competitive motorcross racing.[5] In 2008 Smits won the AHRMA Vintage National Premier 500 Intermediate Class riding a BSA 500.[6]

In 1998, near the end of his playing career, he bought a home in the Indianapolis suburb of Zionsville, Indiana, and continued to live in the home for nearly 20 years, expanding it in 2014 to include a regulation-size basketball half-court. Smits used two barns on the 12.5-acre (5.1 ha) property to house his motorcycles and cars, and built a dedicated motorcycle track in the rear of the property. He and his girlfriend put the property up for sale in the summer of 2017, shortly after they moved to Arizona.[7]

NBA career statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

Regular season[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1988–89 Indiana 82 71 24.9 .517 .000 .722 6.1 .9 0.4 1.8 11.7
1989–90 Indiana 82 82 29.3 .533 .000 .811 6.2 1.7 .6 2.1 15.5
1990–91 Indiana 76 38 22.2 .485 .000 .762 4.7 1.1 .3 1.5 10.9
1991–92 Indiana 74 55 23.9 .510 .000 .788 5.6 1.6 .4 1.4 13.8
1992–93 Indiana 81 81 25.6 .486 .000 .732 5.3 1.5 .3 .9 14.3
1993–94 Indiana 78 75 27.1 .534 .000 .793 6.2 2.0 .6 1.0 15.7
1994–95 Indiana 78 78 30.5 .526 .000 .753 7.7 1.4 .5 1.0 17.9
1995–96 Indiana 63 63 30.2 .521 .200 .788 6.9 1.7 .3 0.7 18.5
1996–97 Indiana 52 52 29.2 .486 .250 .797 6.9 1.3 .4 1.1 17.1
1997–98 Indiana 73 69 28.6 .495 .000 .783 6.9 1.4 .6 1.2 16.7
1998–99 Indiana 49 49 25.9 .490 .000 .818 5.6 1.1 .4 1.1 14.9
1999–00 Indiana 79 79 23.4 .484 .000 .739 5.1 1.1 .2 1.3 12.9
Career 867 792 26.6 .507 .115 .773 6.1 1.4 .4 1.2 14.8
All-Star 1 0 21.0 .429 .000 1.000 7.0 4.0 .0 2.0 10.0

Playoffs[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1990 Indiana 3 3 32.0 .500 .000 .818 5.3 1.0 .7 1.3 12.3
1991 Indiana 5 0 17.6 .568 .000 .875 3.6 .4 .2 1.4 9.8
1992 Indiana 3 1 9.3 .364 .000 1.000 2.0 .0 .7 .3 3.3
1993 Indiana 4 4 35.8 .578 .000 .727 8.0 1.8 1.2 1.0 22.5
1994 Indiana 16 16 28.1 .472 .000 .806 5.3 1.9 .6 .6 16.0
1995 Indiana 17 17 32.1 .547 1.000 .804 7.0 2.0 0.3 0.8 20.1
1996 Indiana 5 5 33.2 .545 .000 .786 7.4 1.6 .4 .4 19.0
1998 Indiana 16 16 29.8 .502 .000 .859 5.3 1.3 .5 .9 16.6
1999 Indiana 13 13 22.5 .456 .000 .950 5.0 .7 .5 1.2 11.8
2000 Indiana 22 21 21.0 .498 .000 .875 3.5 1.0 .4 .9 11.0
Career 104 96 26.4 .507 .250 .829 5.2 1.3 .5 .9 14.8

Personal[edit]

Rik Smits has a son named Derrik Smits, now listed at 7 feet 2 inches (2.18 m), who has been part of the Valparaiso University men's basketball team since 2015.[8] Derrik was forced to redshirt the 2015–16 season due to injury, and began play the following season.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]