Runnin’ Rebels great Robert Smith hospitalized


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Robert Smith, the point guard of the 1977 UNLV team that advanced to the Final Four for the first time in school history.

Wed, Oct 9, 2019 (2 a.m.)

The UNLV sports family suffered a devastating blow last week when former basketball player and current radio broadcaster Robert Smith suffered a severe stroke.

Smith, 64, was hospitalized on Oct. 1 and remains under medical care as he begins what is expected to be a lengthy and uncertain recovery process.

A Los Angeles native, Smith came to UNLV in 1974 and helped lead the Runnin’ Rebels to their first Final Four in 1977 as part of Jerry Tarkanian’s famed “Hardway Eight” team. Smith averaged 10.4 points for his collegiate career, then went on to play in the NBA for seven seasons.

For the past decade Smith has served as the in-game analyst for UNLV radio broadcasts. His play-by-play partner, Jon Sandler, said Smith is one of the most genuine people he has dealt with during their 10 years together.

Smith’s ongoing recovery will most likely keep him from broadcasting UNLV games this season.

“You cannot help but like Robert, and the more time you spend with him, the more you like him,” Sandler said. “I don’t think Robert has ever had a real bad day, unfortunately until now. Just truly one of the best human beings you could meet.”

Smith’s wife, Gloria, has set up a GoFundMe page to help offset the cost of his medical care.

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at

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