Randy Smith, an All-Star basketball player in the 1970s with the Buffalo Braves -- the precursor to the Clippers -- who once held the NBA record for consecutive games played and remains the Clippers' franchise leader in several statistical categories, died Thursday at a hospital in Norwich, Conn. He was 60.
He had a heart attack while exercising on a treadmill at the Connecticut casino complex where he worked, son-in-law Lekan Bashua told the Associated Press on Friday. Smith was pronounced dead at William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich.
Smith played 13 years in the NBA, including two seasons with the San Diego Clippers before the franchise moved to Los Angeles, and appeared in 906 consecutive games from 1972 to 1983.
His ironman mark was broken in 1997 by A.C. Green, the former Lakers forward who later played with the Dallas Mavericks.
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. "And was so fun to be around. There was not a bad day in Randy's life."
Smith, an All-American in basketball, soccer, and track and field at Buffalo State College, was drafted by the Braves in the seventh round in 1971. He became 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.
Smith spent seven seasons with the Braves before the franchise moved to San Diego. He also played for Cleveland, New York and Atlanta before retiring in 1983.
At the 1978 All-Star game, Smith -- playing alongside Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Dave Cowens and Pete Maravich -- scored 27 points and was named 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, and he finished with 16,262 points. He holds the all-time Clippers franchise records for points (12,735), games played (715), assists (3,498) and steals (1,072).
Born Dec. 12, 1948, Smith grew up in Bellport, N.Y. He is still remembered in Buffalo, where an inner-city youth basketball program is named after him.
After his retirement, Smith worked in the NBA front office, coached the Hartford Hellcats of the Continental Basketball Assn. for one year and then became a host and greeter for the Mohegan Sun Casino.
Smith's survivors include his wife, Angela Crayton-Smith; a daughter; two sons; and his mother.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times