CBSsports.com reports that former NBA iron man Randy Smith was pronounced dead on arrival at Backus Hospital in Norwich, CT yesterday. A separate source cites the cause of death as a heart attack. Smith reportedly collapsed while walking on his treadmill at home.
The timing of Smith's passing is eerily ironic, as the release of a coffee table book chronicling and celebrating the eight year run of the Buffalo Braves in the NBA occurred with a launch and signing event by the book's authors, in Buffalo, just last Saturday. See my article http://bleacherreport.com/articles/182854-buffalo-home-of-the-braves-new-book-celebrates-braves-amazing-run.
Smith is interviewed extensively in this volume entitled, Buffalo, Home of the Braves, by Tim and Chris Wendel.
For the many Buffalo fans who will always have a special place in their hearts for the Braves, the center of that place belongs to Smith.
A local Division II three-sport athlete at Buffalo State College, basketball was Smith's third sport after high-jumping and soccer. The Braves took him in the seventh round of the 1971draft as a public relations stunt.
Although Smith was not expected to make the team, he not only earned a contract but became a factor immediately as a small forward. He played seven seasons in Buffalo before the franchise moved to San Diego.
The highlight of his career was selection as MVP of the NBA All-Star Game in 1978 scoring 27 points off the bench.
Smith set a record for playing in 906 consecutive games from 1972-1982, a record that stood until broken by A.C. Green in 1997.
Smith averaged 16.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game over his career. He finished with 16,262 points.
After retiring, Smith worked in the front office at the NBA as director of player programs.
In 1995, he had a short, ill-fated experience as a head coach of the Hartford Hellcats in the CBA. According to The Buffalo News, "The easy-going Smith just wasn't hard-bitten enough to be a coach."
He is survived by his second wife, Angela, two sons, Brandon and Dominique, and a daughter, Terra.