Charles D. Smith
As a college player, Smith was named Big East Player of the Year. Smith led a revitalized University of Pittsburgh basketball program as it moved into a national spotlight. Along with power forward Jerome Lane, Smith and the Pitt basketball team became a major force in college basketball. Yet the Panthers were never able to win a national championship during Smith's tenure.
After a successful four years with the Clippers, in which he averaged 20 points and was a top rebounder with Danny Manning, he was traded to the New York Knicks with Doc Rivers and Bo Kimble for point guard Mark Jackson. Charles was expected to fill the hole at small forward left by Xavier McDaniel after the Knicks failed to re-sign him after their successful 1991-92 season. He struggled in that role, as he was primarily a power forward (a role which Charles Oakley had already filled). Nonetheless, he averaged 18 points in his first season and was a big help on defense and rebounding. As Smith's stats declined, he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs for J.R. Reid before retiring in 1997 due to knee injuries.
As a member of the Knicks, Smith is infamous for missing four consecutive shots directly under the basket as he attempted to tie Game 5 of the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals against the Chicago Bulls. After taking a 2-0 lead in the series, the Knicks lost Games 3 and 4 in Chicago. With a chance to take a 3-2 series lead, Smith's attempts were hampered by Michael Jordan, Horace Grant, and Scottie Pippen in the final seconds, becoming one of the most notorious moments in Knicks history. Now down in the series 3-2, the Knicks lost Game 6 and the series in Chicago to complete an epic collapse (The Bulls moved on to defeat the Phoenix Suns and win their third consecutive championship).
In the summer of 1992, just before Smith was traded to the Knicks, the Charles D. Smith Educational Foundation opened an after-school center for inner-city children from 1st to 9th grades in a converted library branch in Bridgeport, Smith's hometown. A dream of Smith's since his college playing days at Pitt, the center continues operating today, although Smith currently resides in New Jersey.