Rik Smits

Rik Smits

Infobox NBAretired
name=Rik Smits

height_ft=7 |height_in=4
number=24, 45
birthdate=birth date and age|1966|8|23
Eindhoven, Netherlands
* Indiana Pacers (1988–2000)
* 1x NBA All-Star (1998)
* 1989 NBA All-Rookie First Team

Rik Smits (born August 23 1966 in Eindhoven, Netherlands) is a Dutch retired professional basketball player who spent his entire career with the Indiana Pacers. The 7'4" (2.24 m) center was drafted by the Pacers out of Marist College with the second overall pick in the 1988 NBA Draft. The Dutch-born player was nicknamed "The Dunkin' Dutchman".

Originally he backed up Steve Stipanovich, but when Stipanovich suffered a terrible injury that ended his career, Smits ended up starting 71 games in his rookie year, averaging 11.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game and earning All-Rookie First Team honors. Smits continued to average double-digit point totals in every year of his career, but it wasn't until 1993-1994 that Smits really came into his own as a team leader.

Throughout the Pacers' playoff runs in the mid- and late-1990s, Smits was considered the number two player, behind Reggie Miller, on the deeply talented Pacers team. Smits' highest point-per-game average was in 1995-96 when he averaged 18.5 points per game, relatively modest by NBA "superstar" standards, but the Dutchman endeared himself to Pacers fans with outstanding playoff performances.

Smits is best remembered for a catch-and-shoot situation in the fourth game of the 1995 playoffs against the Orlando Magic. With 1.3 seconds left, Derrick McKey inbounded the ball to Smits. He faked a shot off Tree Rollins and released the ball as time expired. The shot went in, and the Pacers tied the series at two games apiece.

Smits was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team in 1998, delivering 10 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists, including a spectacular behind-the-back pass to New Jersey Nets forward Jayson Williams who followed immediately with a slam dunk.

Foot problems hobbled Smits for the majority of his career, and he retired at the conclusion of the Pacers' 1999-2000 season, after Indiana was defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals 4 games to 2.Rik Smits was selected to the Pacers' 40th Anniversary Team, which was chosen by the fans. He ended up with the fourth most votes, trailing only Reggie Miller, Mel Daniels and Jermaine O'Neal.

In his retirement, Smits is devoting his time to collecting and racing vintage motocross motorcycles. [http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060824/SPORTS/608240489&SearchID=7325513284189]

Smits is still active on the court, often seen playing pick-up and recreational league games at a local gymnasium near his home in Zionsville, Indiana.


* Wears a size 20 shoe. [http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060824/SPORTS/608240489&SearchID=7325513284189]

* Has appeared in video games "NBA Jam Tournament Edition", "NBA Hangtime", and "NBA Jam Extreme", and the TV show "Pros vs. Joes".

* Once wore Pacers jersey number 24, but switched to number 45, which was originally worn by former Pacers teammate Chuck Person.
* His favorite TV Show is Double Dare (1976 game show), and claims to be a huge fan of Gene Wood.

* Rik Smits was in the Eddie Murphy movie Coming to America. "While playing at Marist College; His footage playing against St. Johns Redmen at the Madison Square Garden was in the movie Coming to America (1988)";The Holiday Festival, as the Red Foxes previously appeared in the 1987-88 season. That year, Marist was defeated by St. John's and Memphis.

External links

* [http://www.nba.com/playerfile/rik_smits/ Rik Smits' NBA Bio & Stats]
* [http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/video/videopage?videoId=3466104&categoryId=2459788&n8pe6c=2 Where Are They Now? Rik Smits - ESPN Video]

NAME=Smits, Rik
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=The Dunkin' Dutchman (nickname)
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Former professional basketball player with the Indiana Pacers.
DATE OF BIRTH=August 23 1966
PLACE OF BIRTH=Eindhoven, Netherlands

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