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On May 11, 1970, the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted 11 players in the 1970 Expansion Draft. Two never put on
a Cavaliers uniform. Of the remaining nine, all but one played four seasons or less in Cleveland.
The one, Bobby Smith, played 10 seasons and over 700 games with the Cavaliers, helping to shape and mold
the young expansion team into playoff contenders.
Better known as “Bingo,” Smith spent his rookie season with the San Diego Rockets before being selected by
the Cavaliers in the Expansion Draft. Smith and his patented ‘rainbow jumper’ became bright spots through
Cleveland’s early years as the team quickly improved. With each passing season, the versatile small forward
remained a constant and consistent performer even leading the 1974-75 Cavaliers that finished 40-42 and one
game out of the playoffs in scoring at 15.9 points per game.
The following season Cleveland made the playoffs for the first time and Smith added a bit of magic to the season
that has become known as the “Miracle of Richfield.” With home court advantage already lost and the
Cavaliers trailing in their first round series against the favored Washington Bullets, 1-0, Smith and his rainbow
jumpers helped Cleveland find a pot of gold. In Washington for Game 2, Smith scored a team-leading 17 points
and made the game-winning shot with just seconds remaining to secure the 80-79 victory. The win served as the
first playoff victory for the franchise and propelled the Cavaliers past the Bullets and into the Eastern Conference
Finals against Boston where they eventually fell in six games.
Smith played four more seasons in Cleveland, helping guide the Cavaliers to the playoffs two more times
before finishing his career with the San Diego Clippers.
“Bingo” ranks in the top 10 all time in franchise history in nine different categories [Games Played (2nd), Field Goals Made (2nd), Field Goals Attempted
(2nd), Minutes Played (3rd), Points Scored (4th), Assists (10th), Free Throws Made (10th) and Free Throws Attempted (10th)].
The Cavaliers retired his jersey on Dec. 4, 1979.