College - Alcorn State
A 23-year NBA veteran as a player and a coach, Larry Smith brings championship experience to the coaching staff of the Atlanta Hawks. One of the toughest players in the league during his 13-year career, he joins the staff after serving 10 seasons as one of Rudy Tomjanovich’s assistant coaches - and the last four as his top assistant - with the Houston Rockets.
In his first two seasons as an assistant coach, Smith helped the Rockets capture back-to-back championships, as Houston won the NBA title in 1993-94 and 1994-95.
On the court, Smith displayed a tenacious rebounding style that earned him the nickname “Mr. Mean,” as he grabbed an average of 9.2 boards in 883 NBA games, and scored 6.7 points per game (.531 FG%) over his career. A 6-8, 251-pound forward/center who spent nine seasons with Golden State (1980-89) and three years in Houston (1989-92) before wrapping up his playing days in San Antonio (1992-93), he returned to the Rockets the next season to begin his coaching career.
Since the league started tracking offensive rebounds in 1973, Smith’s 3.9 offensive rebounds per game average ranks sixth all-time, and his 3,401 offensive rebounds places him 11th on the all-time list. Not only did Smith lead the NBA in offensive boards during the 1985-86 season (with a 5.0 average), but he also came in second on three other occasions, trailing Moses Malone in 1981, Hakeem Olajuwon in 1985, and Charles Barkley in 1987.
Smith finished among the NBA’s top 10 rebounders five times (1980-81, 1981-82, 1984-85, 1985-86 and 1986-87), averaging double figures in each of those seasons. His 8,125 total rebounds have him in 47th place among the league’s all-time leaders. He registered over eight rebounds per game in 10 of his 13 seasons. Smith posted 400 double-digit rebounding performances, reaching 20 rebounds in 28 games. His best effort in a game was 31 against Denver in March 1981.
While Smith gained notoriety for his rebounding skills, his best offensive output came during the 1984-85 season, when he scored a career-high 11.1 points for the Warriors. It was the only time he recorded a double-double average of points and rebounds for any season, as he had 10.9 boards that year.
In his first season as a player, Smith became the first rookie since Kareem Abdur-Jabbar (1969-70) to finish among the top three rebounders in one season when he grabbed a career-high 12.1 boards per contest. Coupled with his 9.6 scoring average that year, Smith earned 1981 NBA All-Rookie first team honors.
Smith starred collegiately at Alcorn State, where he won four letters for the Braves. He led all Division I players in rebounding as a senior with a 15.1 average and also averaged 20.1 points per game. Smith was the Southwest Athletic Conference’s (SWAC) Player and Athlete of the Year in his final two seasons, as ASU went 56-3 over that period and 24-0 in the league. He scored 1,852 points (16.7 ppg) and pulled down 1,234 rebounds (11.1 rpg) in his four years.
Born January 18, 1958 in Rolling Fork, Mississippi, Smith has an MBA from Alcorn State and played high school ball at Simmons High in Hollandale, Miss. He and his wife Belinda have three children, Larry, Jr., Tiffany and Torri.