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[Deathwatch] Phil Smith, athlete, 50

Former Warriors G Phil Smith dead at 50 
August 1, 2002 

ESCONDIDO, CALIFORNIA (TICKER) -- Phil Smith, a member of the Golden
State Warriors' lone NBA championship team in 1975, died Tuesday night
after a five-year battle with cancer. He was 50.

Smith was diagnosed in 1998 with multiple myeloma, an aggressive form
of bone marrow cancer. He died at the Palomar Medical Center.

Smith spent six seasons with the Warriors. In 1974-75, the 6-4 guard
averaged 7.7 points on 48 percent shooting in 74 games. He stepped into
the starting lineup in 1975-76 and averaged a career-best 20.0 points
while playing all 82 games.

"Phil was a great person and friend and will be sorely missed by all of
us who had the pleasure to know him," former Warriors coach Al Attles
said in a statement. "It is absolutely heartbreaking to see him leave
us at such an early age and after such a difficult battle. The fact
that he had been sick for a while does not lessen the blow, it just
adds to the pain."

Smith's career was cut short by a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered
prior to the 1979-80 campaign.

"Had it not been for his Achilles injury, I really believe that he
would have been one of the greatest players in the game over time,"
Attles said. "I've been around a lot of players in my day, but few of
them enjoyed all facets of the game as much as Phil Smith. He was a
tremendous talent and a real student of the game."

Smith is one of only five players to have his number retired by the
University of San Francisco after leading the team in scoring each of
his three seasons.

"He was the best of competitors and the best of human beings," former
USF coach Bob Gaillard said. "He was able to make his teammates better
players and better people. He will really be missed."

Smith is survived by his wife of 27 years, Angela, and five children.