Former Knick and Bellport product Smith dead at 60
BY CODY DERESPINA
June 5, 2009
Randy Smith, a former Knicks guard and a product of Bellport High School, died Thursday after suffering a heart attack. He was 60. Smith's son-in-law, Lekan Bashua, told The Associated Press that he suffered a massive heart attack while exercising at Mohegan Sun, the Connecticut casino where he worked.
Smith, who once held the NBA record for most consecutive games played (906), spent 13 years in the league, averaging 16.7 points. He started his career with the Buffalo Braves, now the Los Angeles Clippers, and made 40 starts for the Knicks in 1981-82.
"Randy may have been the fastest player in the entire NBA at his peak and he was one of the really great guards," former Braves owner Paul Snyder said. "We always had him play head-to-head with Walt Frazier, and in my judgment, Randy outplayed him almost every game. He could hold his own with anybody."
Smith is remembered as one of the best athletes in Bellport High history. He still holds the record for the high jump (6 feet, 10 inches). Athletic director John Frankie, based on a story he heard from former physical education teacher Paul Susskind, recalled how he set it. "Smith had come over and watched track and asked what the school record was,'' Frankie said. "They told him and he said, 'I could do that.' He wasn't even on the team at the time; he just came in and broke the record.''
Bellport retired Smith's No. 32 jersey several years ago. He was in town at the time and attended the ceremony. "For a guy that was a professional athlete,'' Frankie said, "he was very humble and just a very nice guy.''
Added former Braves coach Jack Ramsay, "There was not a bad day in Randy's life."
Smith was inducted into the Suffolk County Hall of Fame in 1990. He was an All-American soccer player at Buffalo State College, where he led the basketball team to three conference championships.
Playing alongside Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Dave Cowens and Pete Maravich in the 1977-78 NBA All-Star Game, he came off the bench to lead all scorers with 27 points and was named MVP.
Smith is survived by his second wife, Angela Crayton-Smith; a daughter, Terrand (A. Lekan) Bashua; three sons, Brandon, Dominique and David Garrison; his mother, Jewel Woods; four sisters Georgianna Perry, Lana Stevens, Wendy Smith and Judy Howard, two grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
New York Times
Randy Smith, N.B.A. Iron Man, Dies at 60
By RICHARD GOLDSTEIN
Published: June 6, 2009
Randy Smith, a speedy, high-scoring guard who
set a National Basketball Association record by playing in 906 consecutive games
over 12 seasons, died Thursday in Norwich, Conn. He was 60.
The Buffalo Braves are long gone, but in the N.B.A. of the mid-1970s, they were an eye-catching team. They were led by the 6-foot-3-inch Smith, who would race down court and have the versatility to pull up for jumpers or drive for dunks, and the Hall of Fame forward Bob McAdoo, the league’s scoring leader for three consecutive seasons.
Smith’s consecutive-game streak began in February 1972, during his rookie season with the Braves, and ran until March 1983, when he was placed on waivers in his second stint with the Braves’ successor franchise, the San Diego Clippers, now the Los Angeles Clippers. Smith had asked for his release so he could join a playoff-caliber team and signed with the Atlanta Hawks soon afterward.
His record was eclipsed by A. C. Green of the Dallas Mavericks in November 1997.
For all of Smith’s durability, his greatest moment had nothing to do with his record-setting streak. It came at the 1978 All-Star Game in Atlanta, where he scored 27 points in 29 minutes for the East, with seven rebounds and six assists, and was named most valuable player.
“Being a seventh-round draft choice, it was a brilliant opportunity to show everyone that I belonged in the N.B.A.,” he said.
Smith, who grew up in Bellport on Long Island, was drafted by the Braves out of Buffalo State. It might have seemed a nod to a local favorite, but he went on to average at least 20 points a game in four consecutive seasons, with Buffalo and San Diego.
He was a two-time All-Star and had a career scoring average of 16.7 points a game, playing for the Braves, the Clippers, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Knicks and the Hawks.
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.
When Smith played in his 845th consecutive game, a Clippers loss to the 76ers in Philadelphia in November 1982, he broke the N.B.A.-record streak held by center Johnny Kerr.
Having played for the Sixers late in his career, Kerr was flown in by the team to congratulate Smith, and the 76ers presented Smith with golf irons, signifying his iron man status. It was a welcome though modest recognition.
When Green broke Smith’s consecutive-game streak 15 years later, McAdoo remarked how Smith was “one of the best athletes ever to play this game.”
But as McAdoo told Newsday at the time: “Nobody ever talks about him. Nobody even remembers Buffalo was in the N.B.A.”
Randy Smith, ex-Knick & Buffalo Brave, is dead at
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Saturday, June 6th 2009
Randy Smith, a blindingly fast All-Star with
the Buffalo Braves in the 1970s who once held the NBA record for consecutive
games. Smith, who played with the Knicks from 1981-82, suffered a massive heart
attack Friday And died while working out on a treadmill. He was 60.
Jack Ramsay, Smith's coach in Buffalo, called the 6-foot-3 guard the best athlete he ever coached.
"He had stamina, great speed and developed into a very good player," Ramsay said Friday from the NBA Finals in Los Angeles.
"And was so fun to be around. There was not a bad day in Randy's life."
Smith was drafted by the Braves in the seventh round in 1971 and averaged more than 13 points in his rookie season. He went on to play 13 years in the NBA and appeared in 906 consecutive games from 1972-83. His mark was broken by A.C. Green in 1997.
"He played hurt, gave it 100% and took pride in that," said Durie Burns, a college teammate of Smith's at Buffalo State.
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 exciting clubs.
"We could run," Ramsay said, "and nobody could keep up with Randy's sheer speed."
Smith spent seven seasons with the Braves before the franchise moved to San Diego. After also playing in Cleveland, New York and Atlanta, he retired in 1983.
"I always felt Randy was the heart of the team," Buffalo businessman and former Braves owner Paul Snyder said. "He was always happy. And he always had a positive outlook on life. His teammates loved him."
At the 1978 All-Star Game, Smith - playing alongside peers such as 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. He averaged 10.0 points and 3.1 assists during his one season for the Knicks. He finished with 16,262 points.
Return to Index