NORWICH, Conn. (AP) — Randy Smith, a crowd-pleasing All-Star with the Buffalo Braves in the 1970s who
once held the NBA record for consecutive games, died at a Connecticut hospital. He was 60.
Smith was brought to the emergency room of William W. Backus Hospital on Thursday and pronounced dead.
The hospital on Friday did not give a cause of death.
"I am stunned, there’s a lack of any other words," said Durie Burns, a college teammate of
Smith’s at Buffalo State. "He was like a brother to me."
Smith, 6-foot-3, was drafted by the Braves in the seventh round in 1971, averaging more than 13 points in
his rookie season.
He played 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 percent and took pride in that," Burns said.
Smith was fast and durable, 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 coach Jack Ramsay one of the league’s exciting clubs.
"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
"He was always joking around," Synder added. "And he just kept people from getting
uptight. No matter how serious the situation was, Randy made it better."
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.
At the 1978 All-Star game, Smith — playing alongside the likes of 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 for four straight seasons. He finished with 16,262 points.
Smith is still remembered in Buffalo, where an inner-city youth basketball program is named after him. He
also excelled at soccer and track at Buffalo State and was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall
of Fame in 1992.
Snyder recalled how Smith made an immediate impression as a rookie during the Braves’ summer practices.
"Jack Ramsay turned and said, ‘That kid is going to start with our team this year,’" Snyder
said. "He just had so much talent. And he was so fast that Jack felt he really couldn’t fail. And
Smith usually guarded the opposing team’s top player.
"Randy may have been the fastest player in the entire NBA at his peak and he was one of the really
great guards," 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."
After his retirement, Smith worked as a host and greeter for the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.