Athlete


Date Inducted: 10 Dec 1997
Sport: Basketball
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Phil Smyth AM - Basketball

For almost two decades Phil Smyth was as much a part of the Australian men's basketball team as it's green and gold uniform. Phil has been a significant contributor to the development of the sport in Australia, setting a standard that has assisted in establishing Australia at an international level. Having played 346 senior games for Australia, Phil can claim to have played more senior games for Australia than any other male basketballer.

From Phil's first game for the Boomers in 1977 to the 1994 World Championships, he has held a major role in guiding the steady rise of the Boomers through the world rankings as their captain of 14 years. During this time, from 1981 to 1994, he led the Boomers through four Olympic Games and five World Championships.

As the team's point guard, responsible for controlling the team's tempo and play selection, Phil became known in Australia and around the world as 'The General'. In addition to being a fine shooter, playmaker and defensive player, Phil was renowned as one of the most astute basketball players Australia has produced, and perhaps its finest ever court leader commanding great respect from his peers.

Phil's dynamic impact on his sport flowed through into Australia's National Basketball League where his contribution was also outstanding. In a career of 346 NBL games, he scored 4980 points at an average of 14 per game. He is number four on the all time free throw percentage list, number three on the all time list of assists, and number two for steals. Phil was captain of the Canberra Cannons when they won the NBL titles in 1983, 1984, and 1988 and he gained NBL All - Star Five selection in six of the eight years, between 1982 and 1989, and was voted the best defensive player in the NBL in 1988 and 1989.

Regarded as one of the greatest basketballers Australia has produced, Phil Smyth has been a pioneer of what is one of the most popular and ever expanding sports in Australia. He has set standards on and off the court and boasts one of the longest and most illustrious careers in Australian basketball.

In 1988 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his services to basketball.

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When considering the stature of an athlete or for that matter any person, I set great store in certain qualities which I believe to be essential in addition to skill. They are that the person conducts his of her life with dignity, with integrity, courage, and perhaps most of all, with modesty. These virtues are totally compatible with pride, ambition, and competitiveness.