Smits in 2008
|Born||August 23, 1966|
|Listed height||7 ft 4 in (2.24 m)|
|Listed weight||250 lb (113 kg)|
|NBA draft||1988 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd overall|
|Selected by the Indiana Pacers|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||12,871 (14.8 ppg)|
|Rebounds||5,277 (6.1 rpg)|
|Blocks||1,111 (1.3 bpg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Rik Smits (born August 23, 1966), nicknamed "the Dunking Dutchman", is a Dutch retired professional basketball player who spent his entire career with the Indiana Pacers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) The 7-foot-4-inch (2.24 m) center was drafted by the Pacers out of Marist College with the second overall pick in the 1988 NBA draft. An NBA All-Star in 1998, Smits reached the NBA Finals in 2000.
Smits was born in Eindhoven. He started playing basketball at age fourteen at PSV/Almonte in Eindhoven. Smits left for the United States in 1984, where he played for Marist College for four years. He got drafted 2nd overall in the 1988 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers.
With the Pacers, Smits originally backed up Steve Stipanovich, but when Stipanovich suffered a career-ending injury, 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 the 1993–94 NBA season 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, most notably in Game 4 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals where he made a buzzer-beating shot to tie the series.
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.
Smits developed nerve damage in his feet from wearing tight shoes as a teenager. 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.
After four surgeries to repair nerve damage to his feet, Smits underwent intensive back surgery in November 2009 to correct cracks in one joint that link his vertebrae. Smits has also undergone arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and had bone chips removed from his left ankle.
Life after the NBA
After his retirement, Smits is devoting his time to collecting and racing vintage motocross motorcycles. On November 30, 2011, Smits was featured in Yahoo! Sports, about his formal participation in competitive motocross racing. In 2008 Smits won the AHRMA Vintage National Premier 500 Intermediate Class riding a BSA 500.
In 1998, near the end of his playing career, he bought a home in the Indianapolis suburb of Zionsville, Indiana, and continued to live in the home for nearly 20 years, expanding it in 2014 to include a regulation-size basketball half-court. Smits used two barns on the 12.5-acre (5.1 ha) property to house his motorcycles and cars, and built a dedicated motorcycle track in the rear of the property. He and his girlfriend put the property up for sale in the summer of 2017, shortly after they moved to Arizona.
NBA career statistics
|��GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
Rik Smits has a son named Derrik Smits, now listed at 7 feet 1 inch (2.16 m), who played for the Valparaiso University men's basketball team from 2016 to 2019 and plans to play his final season of college eligibility in 2019–20 at Butler University. Derrik was forced to redshirt the 2015–16 season due to injury, and began play the following season. He graduated from Valparaiso in December 2018, taking graduate-level courses in the 2019 spring term to maintain his basketball eligibility; his graduation makes him immediately eligible to play at Butler.
- List of NBA players who have spent their entire career with one franchise
- List of tallest players in National Basketball Association history
- Alumni Association Executive Board: Marist College
- 1988 NBA Draft | Basketball-Reference.com
- Pablo S. Torre (July 4, 2011). "Larger Than Real Life". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on April 27, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Fittes, Emma Kate (July 14, 2017). "Hot Property: Look inside ex-Pacer Rik Smits' $2.7 million Zionsville estate". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
- "Derrik Smits Basketball Recruit Page". Rivals Recruiting. Rivals (Yahoo). Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Woods, David (April 28, 2019). "Zionsville's Derrik Smits picks Butler as transfer destination". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
- "Men's Basketball: Derrik Smits". Valparaiso Crusaders. Retrieved August 12, 2017.