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Phil Smith (basketball)

Phil Smith
File:Phil Smith 1975.jpg
Smith in 1975
Personal information
Born (1952-04-22)April 22, 1952
San Francisco, California
Died July 29, 2002(2002-07-29) (aged 50)
Escondido, California
Nationality American
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Career information
High school George Washington
(San Francisco, California)
College San Francisco (1971–1974)
NBA draft 1974 / Round: 2 / Pick: 29th overall
Selected by the Golden State Warriors
Pro career 1974–1983
Position Shooting guard
Number 20, 11
Career history
19741980 Golden State Warriors
19801982 San Diego Clippers
1982–1983 Seattle SuperSonics
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 9,924 (15.1 ppg)
Rebounds 1,978 (3.0 rpg)
Assists 2,561 (3.9 apg)
Stats at

Philip Arnold "Phil" Smith (April 22, 1952 – July 29, 2002) was an American professional basketball player who played for 9 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Collegiate career

A 6'4" All-American guard from the University of San Francisco (USF), Smith was not heavily recruited out of George Washington High School. After graduating from high school a semester early, Smith followed his older brother and enrolled in night classes at USF. Having been seen playing in a pickup game on campus, he was recruited by coach Bob Gaillard, who enlisted him on the freshman squad (the NCAA did not allow freshmen to play on varsity at this time) where he averaged 16.7 ppg. He went on to lead the team in scoring in each of his three varsity seasons, 15.0, 18.7, and 20.7 ppg, for a career average of 18.1 ppg and was an all-West Coast Conference selection all three years. The Dons made appearances in the 1972 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament placing 4th in the Western Regional after losing to Weber State, and finished in the elite eight in the 1973 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament and 1974 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, where they lost both times to UCLA under John Wooden. As a result he was drafted #1 in the 1973 ABA draft by the Virginia Squires, but declined leaving college early. He was named to the All-American team his senior year. Scoring 1,523 career points, he excelled at USF becoming the ninth-leading scorer in school history. On February 17, 2001 his number 20 was retired at halftime during a home game against the University of San Diego. He is one of only five players to have his number retired by USF. He was named one of the Top-50 WCC athletes of all-time in 2001.

Professional career

After his senior year, Smith was selected by the Golden State Warriors with the 11th pick in the 2nd round of the 1974 National Basketball Association (NBA) draft (29th overall), spending six seasons with them. As a rookie during the 1975 season, he averaged 7.7 points on 48 percent shooting in 74 games and was a member of the Golden State Warriors lone NBA championship team. The following year, he stepped into the starting lineup and averaged a career-best 20.0 points while playing in all 82 games. Smith was a two-time NBA All-Star (1976 and 1977), an All-NBA second-team selection in 1976 and a 1976 All-NBA defensive second-team selection. He played for 9 seasons (1974–1983) in the National Basketball Association (NBA), for the Warriors, the San Diego Clippers, and the Seattle SuperSonics. Smith finished his NBA career with 9,924 total points and a 15.1 ppg career average. A ruptured Achilles tendon prior to the start of the 1979-80 campaign caused the decline of his career.


Was the third of 9 children born to Ben and Thelma Smith of San Francisco. He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Angela, and their 5 children: Alicia, Philip, Amber, Martin and Peter, and 10 grandchildren. Martin played collegiately for the California Golden Bears from 2002–2006; Peter played for his parents alma mater, the University of San Francisco before transferring to Concordia University (class of 2012).

September 27 is Phil Smith Day in San Francisco, California as decreed by former Mayor Willie Brown.

A scholarship endowment in Smith's name and the name of Arthur Zief, Jr. was established at the University of San Francisco by Art Zief.


Philip Smith died at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California from complications with multiple myeloma cancer, after a five-year battle with the disease. He was 50.