Ex-NBA star Randy Smith dies at 60
Mr. Smith suffered a massive heart attack while exercising at the Connecticut casino where he worked, son-in-law Lekan Bashua told the Associated Press yesterday.
He was pronounced dead at William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich. The Mohegan Sun Casino declined to comment on circumstances surrounding the death, citing medical confidentiality laws.
Jack Ramsay, Mr. Smith's coach in Buffalo, called the 6-foot-3 guard the best athlete he ever coached.
Mr. Smith was drafted by the Braves (now the Los Angeles Clippers) in the seventh round in 1971 and averaged more than 13 points in his rookie season. He played 13 years in the NBA and appeared in 906 consecutive games from 1972 to 1983. His mark was broken by A.C. Green in 1997.
"He played hurt, gave it 100 percent, and took pride in that," said Durie Burns, a college teammate of Mr. Smith's at Buffalo State.
Mr. Smith was a good shooter and great jumper who wowed fans with reverse dunks. He was one of the most popular players in Braves history, and in teaming with scoring champion Bob McAdoo, he helped make the Braves under Ramsay one of the league's most exciting clubs.
Mr. Smith spent seven seasons with the Braves before the franchise moved to San Diego. He also played for Cleveland, New York and Atlanta and retired in 1983.
In the 1978 All-Star Game, Mr. Smith - playing alongside Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Dave Cowens and Pete Maravich - scored 27 points and was the most valuable player.
He averaged 16.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists for his career. In one stretch, he averaged more than 20 points in four successive seasons. He finished with 16,262 points.
In Buffalo, an inner-city youth basketball program is named after Mr. Smith. He also excelled at soccer and track at Buffalo State and was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.
After his retirement, Mr. Smith worked as a host and greeter for the Mohegan Sun Casino.
He is survived by his wife, Angela Crayton-Smith, a daughter, two sons, and his mother.