Randy Smith (basketball)

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).[1] He was born in Bellport, New York.

Randy Smith
Personal information
Born(1948-12-12)December 12, 1948
Bellport, New York
DiedJune 4, 2009(2009-06-04) (aged 60)
Norwich, Connecticut
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Listed weight180 lb (82 kg)
Career information
High schoolBellport (Brookhaven, New York)
CollegeBuffalo State (1968–1971)
NBA draft1971 / Round: 7 / Pick: 104th overall
Selected by the Buffalo Braves
Playing career1971–1983
PositionShooting guard / Small forward
Number9, 7
Career history
19711979Buffalo Braves / San Diego Clippers
19791981Cleveland Cavaliers
1981–1982New York Knicks
1982–1983San Diego Clippers
1983Atlanta Hawks
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points16,262 (16.7 ppg)
Assists4,487 (4.6 apg)
Steals1,403 (1.7 spg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

College

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 also set a state high jump record of 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m). 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.

NBA

Buffalo Braves

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 offensive 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.

The highlight of Smith's career was the 1978 NBA All-Star Game, where he came off the bench to lead all scorers with 27 points, and was named the game's Most Valuable Player.[1]

Buffalo's change in name

Smith played for seven years for the Braves until the franchise became the San Diego Clippers in 1978. That first year with the Clippers, Smith had his fourth consecutive season averaging over 20 points per game.

Cleveland Cavaliers

In 1979, Smith was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he was named team captain and played for two years.

New York Knicks

He spent the 1981 season with the New York Knicks.

Return to the Clippers

The next season, Smith moved back to San Diego for another season.

Iron Man Streak

On November 3, 1982, Smith played in his 845th consecutive NBA game, breaking Johnny Kerr's iron man record.[2] The game was a 130–111 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in which Smith started and scored 14 points. Smith's iron man streak ended at 906 games when he played his last game with the Clippers on March 13, 1983. The record was later surpassed by A. C. Green in 1997.

Atlanta Hawks

Smith was traded to the Atlanta Hawks, where he played 15 games before retiring.

NASL

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. The Rowdies' management had hoped to sign the two-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.[3] A year later while in between basketball contracts, the Rowdies gave him another look,[4][5] 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.[6][7]

Post-NBA

After retiring as a player, Smith was an NBA 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 marketing.[1]

Smith was inducted into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame on Long Island in the Basketball Category with the Class of 1990.

On June 4, 2009, Smith died in Norwich, Connecticut, after a heart attack during a workout.[1][8]

NBA career statistics

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

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1971–72 Buffalo 7627.6.482.6224.82.513.4
1972–73 Buffalo 8231.7.443.7274.85.114.8
1973–74 Buffalo 8233.5.492.7123.84.72.50.015.5
1974–75 Buffalo 8236.6.484.8004.26.51.70.017.8
1975–76 Buffalo 8238.6.494.8175.15.91.90.021.8
1976–77 Buffalo 8237.7.467.7625.65.42.10.120.7
1977–78 Buffalo 8240.4.465.8003.85.62.10.124.6
1978–79 San Diego 8237.9.455.8133.64.82.20.120.5
1979–80 Cleveland 8232.6.452.189.8233.14.41.50.117.6
1980–81 Cleveland 8226.8.466.036.8152.44.41.40.214.6
1981–82 New York 824024.8.465.273.8081.93.11.10.010.0
1982–83 San Diego 651619.4.489.188.8631.43.00.80.09.1
1982–83 Atlanta 1509.5.439.000.9290.50.90.10.04.7
Career 9765632.2.470.155.7813.74.61.70.116.7
All-Star 2022.0.714.8334.04.51.50.517.5

Playoffs

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1974 Buffalo 637.8.400.6504.34.51.70.214.2
1975 Buffalo 740.9.476.8674.37.02.60.118.0
1976 Buffalo 942.9.503.8375.88.6*1.60.022.6
1983 Atlanta 27.5.2001.0000.52.00.50.03.0
Career 2438.1.465.8164.56.51.80.117.5

See also

References

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