The NBA group mourned the lack of a legend Thursday with the loss of life of Bobby “Bingo” Smith, an iconic determine within the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise. Smith, who was 77 years previous, has the excellence of being the third Cavalier to have his jersey retired.
Smith spent his rookie season within the NBA with the San Diego Rockets earlier than being chosen by the Cavaliers within the 1970 growth draft. He appeared in additional than 700 video games for Cleveland and was instrumental in growing the younger growth workforce right into a competitiveness.
Within the 1975-76 season, the Cavaliers made their playoff debut in what’s now recognized in Cleveland because the “Miracle of Richfield.” After giving up dwelling discipline benefit and dealing with a deficit in opposition to the favored Washington Bullets of their first spherical match, they gained their first playoff sport due to Smith’s robust efficiency.
Smith scored 17 factors, together with the last-second winner within the 80-79 victory for the Cavaliers, who defeated the Bullets in seven video games.
Smith guided the Cavaliers to 2 extra playoff appearances in 4 years earlier than wrapping up his illustrious profession with the San Diego Clippers.
Even earlier than the introduction of the three-point line, Smith grew to become recognized for his “rainbow” leap photographs.
Smith is a part of the Cleveland historical past books, rating within the prime 10 in six totally different classes: video games performed (No. 4), discipline objectives made (No. 3), discipline objectives tried (No. 3), minutes performed (No. 5) and factors scored (no. 6).
The Cavaliers honored Smith by retiring his jersey, No. 7, making him the third participant to obtain the award, following Brad Daugherty and Nate Thurmond.
Smith was inducted into the Ohio Basketball Corridor of Fame on Could 21, 2016.
Former Cleveland Cavaliers pay tribute to Bobby ‘Bingo’ Smith
Former teammates of Bobby “Bingo” Smith paid their respects to the Cleveland Cavaliers legend.
“That is an extremely unhappy day for our Cavaliers household and we’re deeply harm by Bingo’s passing,” stated Campy Russell, director of alumni relations and former Cavaliers teammate and buddy.
Russell referred to as Smith “one of the crucial gifted gamers to ever grace the Wine and Gold.”
“He spent most of his life doing what he beloved, and his loyalty to the Cavaliers by no means wavered,” Russell stated. “As a Cavaliers ambassador, Bingo persistently spent his time embracing followers and sharing a bit of his basketball journey lengthy after his enjoying days had been over. The ideas and prayers of this group and Cavaliers followers in Northeast Ohio are with your entire Smith household.
Cavaliers tv coloration analyst and “Mr. Cavalier” Austin Carr stated:
“From the workforce’s early years of growth by means of our very first playoff expertise and the Miracle season, Bingo was all the time a giving teammate and one of many fiercest rivals I’ve ever performed with. That is really a tragic second in our franchise historical past and my coronary heart goes out to his household.”
Jim Chones, the Cavaliers’ radio analyst and Smith’s former teammate, stated the world has misplaced a “nice man.”
“I’m praying for the Smith household and all their family members at this time as we’ve got really misplaced a brother, a teammate, a father and an ideal human being,” Smith stated. “His impression on the Cavaliers and on so many people who performed with him won’t ever be forgotten. My coronary heart goes out to everybody he touched all through his life. Relaxation in energy, Bingo.”