INDIANOpolis Sam Smith died in his Indianapolis home after swallowing his pride to beg for petrol money. He died needing support for his daughter's burial.
He was an NBA pioneer who helped shape the league today.
Smith quit basketball. After winning an ABA title with the Utah Stars, he became a security supervisor at Ford's Indianapolis factory.
Five years ago, Smith contacted the Dropping Dimes Foundation, which aids struggling ABA players and their families.
Smith informed Dropping Dimes CEO Scott Tarter he couldn't afford his reunion. He wanted a $250 loan. Dropping Dimes handed him money, not a loan.
Smith waited to call Dropping Dimes again. He alleged the NBA owed him $2,000 a month for his five years in the ABA, which merged with the NBA in 1976.