Saturday, June 6, 2009


Former NBA star working for Mohegan Sun dies
Randy Smith, 60, was a marketing director, greeter for casino Staff and wire reports

By Staff and Wire Reports Published on 6/6/2009

Randy Smith, who had worked in marketing at Mohegan Sun since 1996, died Thursday. Smith, a former All-Star, played 13 years in the National Basketball Association.

Randy Smith, a former NBA All-Star who had worked in marketing at Mohegan Sun since 1996, died while working out on a treadmill there Thursday. He was 60.

Smith had a massive heart attack, his son-in-law, Lekan Bashua, told The Associated Press. Mohegan Sun officials declined to comment on circumstances surrounding the death, citing medical confidentiality laws.

Smith was taken to The William W. Backus Hospital, where he arrived at 11:45 a.m. Thursday. He was pronounced dead 52 minutes later, Shawn Mawhiney, a Backus spokesman, said Friday.

”Randy Smith was a great friend to me and to many others in the Mohegan family, and I am very sorry to hear that he has passed away so suddenly,” Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum, chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council, said in a statement released by the tribe. “My heart goes out to his family and friends - he was one of a kind and we will always remember him.”

”We are deeply saddened by the loss of such a tremendous individual,” Jeffrey Hartmann, Mohegan Sun's chief operating officer, said. “Today, we have lost not just an employee, but truly a friend. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to all of Randy's family and friends.”

Smith, who played for the Buffalo Braves in the 1970s, once held the NBA record for consecutive games.

Jack Ramsay, his 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 from the NBA finals in Los Angeles. “And was so fun to be around. There was not a bad day in Randy's life.''

Smith was drafted by the Braves in the seventh round in 1971 and averaged more than 13 points in his rookie season. He played 13 years in the NBA and appeared in 906 consecutive games from 1972 to 1983. His mark was broken by A.C. Green in 1997.

Smith was hired by Mohegan Sun in December 1996, and most recently held the position of director of player development. His duties included marketing, managing preferred-player accounts, greeting and assisting guests while on the property and planning and attending golf outings, the casino said.

Smith's teammate with the Buffalo Braves, Ernie DiGregorio, the former Providence College star, greets guests at Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Smith, who coached the Hartford Hellcats in the Continental Basketball Association in 1995, 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, 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 a game for his career. In one stretch, he averaged more than 20 points a game for four straight seasons. He finished with 16,262 points.

A native of Bellport, on Long Island, Smith is survived by his second wife, Angela; two sons, Brandon and Dominique; and a daughter, Terran.

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