CLEVELAND, Ohio (WKBN) – Cleveland Cavaliers legend Bobby “Bingo” Smith has died at the age of 77.
Smith played 10 seasons and over 700 games with Cleveland after being selected by Cleveland from the San Diego Rockets in the expansion draft on May 11, 1970.
He went on to become a key member of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ first playoff team that became affectionately known as the “Miracle of Richfield.”
The Cavaliers retired his jersey on Dec. 4, 1979.
“This is an incredibly sad day for our Cavaliers family and we are deeply hurt relating to Bingo’s passing,” said director of Alumni Relations and former Cavaliers teammate and friend, Campy Russell.
“Bingo was one of the most gifted players to ever grace the Wine and Gold, and his impact on the court and throughout the community made a lasting impression on everyone that ever came into contact with him. He spent the majority of his life doing what he loved and his loyalty to the Cavaliers never wavered. As a Cavaliers ambassador, Bingo consistently devoted his time embracing fans and sharing a piece of his basketball journey long after his playing days were over. The thoughts and prayers of this organization and Cavaliers fans across Northeast Ohio are with the entire Smith family.”
Smith maintains a place in the Cavaliers’ top-10 all-time in six different categories: games played (4th), field goals made (3rd), field goals attempted (3rd), minutes played (5th) and points scored (6th).
“Bingo and I were teammates for almost a decade, and we experienced the full spectrum of emotions and successes here in Cleveland, while representing our beloved Cavaliers,” said Cavaliers television Color Analyst and Mr. Cavalier, Austin Carr.
“From the early expansion years of the team, to our first-ever playoff experience and the Miracle season, Bingo was always a giving teammate and one of the most fierce competitors I ever played with. This is truly a sad moment in our franchise history and my heart goes out to his family.”
“We lost a great man,” said Cavaliers radio analyst and former teammate Jim Chones. “Praying for the Smith family and all their loved ones today, as we truly lost a brother, a teammate, a father and all-around great human being. His impact on the Cavaliers and so many of us that played with him will never be forgotten. My heart goes out to all those he touched throughout his life. Rest in power Bingo.”