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.
Smith is survived by his second wife, Angela, two sons, Brandon and Dominique, and a daughter, Terran.
- With AP