April 20, 2024

Cleveland Cavaliers Mourn the Passing of Legendary Player Bobby ‘Bingo’ Smith


The Cleveland Cavaliers and the entire NBA community are deeply saddened by the passing of Bobby ‘Bingo’ Smith, who left us on Thursday at the age of 77. Smith was a cherished member of the Cavaliers’ Miracle of Richfield team in 1976 and remains one of the most beloved players in franchise history.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Smith began his basketball journey at Tulsa, where he earned the nickname ‘Bingo’ for his remarkable scoring abilities. Drafted by the San Diego Rockets in 1969, he joined the Cavaliers in 1970 as part of the expansion draft. His dedication to the Cavaliers spanned over a decade, encompassing more than 700 games and establishing him as their all-time leader in games played until 1998.

Smith was a versatile and dependable small forward known for his proficiency in long-range jumpers, even before the three-point line was introduced. Over his career, he averaged 12.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game, amassing a total of 10,882 points. He boasted an impressive 79.8 free throw percentage and a 44.9 field goal percentage.

The pinnacle of Smith’s career was the 1974–75 season, during which he led the team with 15.9 points per game and achieved a 48.3 shooting percentage. His outstanding contributions helped the Cavs secure their first Central Division title and make it to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they engaged in a thrilling seven-game series against the Boston Celtics. This memorable season is forever etched in history as the ‘Miracle of Richfield,’ symbolizing the Cavs’ resilience in overcoming adversity to reach the playoffs.

Bingo Smith was not only a fan favorite but also a highly respected teammate known for his professionalism and humility. In recognition of his exceptional career, the Cavs retired his number seven jersey in 1979, making him the first player in franchise history to receive this honor.

After retiring from basketball in 1980, following one season with the San Diego Clippers, Smith transitioned into a career as a broadcaster and community ambassador for the Cavs. He leaves behind his wife Anita, his children Bobby Jr., Kevin, and Angela, as well as his grandchildren.

Bingo Smith will forever be enshrined as a Cavaliers legend who played a vital role in shaping the team’s identity and culture. His memory will live on in the hearts of his family, friends, fans, and former teammates. Rest in peace, Bingo.

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