Sitting in his driveway, Adrian Smith leans slightly on his treasured time capsule and smiles.
Adrian Smith prepares to take a spin in the car he chose in 1966 for winning the NBA All-Star Game MVP honor at the Cincinnati Gardens.
He’s been photographed numerous times over the years with his 1966 Ford Galaxie. And this day brings a new opportunity for photos.
The 79-year-old Anderson Township resident kindly obliges.
On an unseasonably warm November morning, Smith explains how he was awarded the vintage vehicle for being the 1966 NBA All-Star Game MVP. The weather has to be ideal for the car to be granted a release from his garage.
It’s that famous.
Players from that era remember the car.
“Everybody was happy about that for him,” former NBA general manager and Royals center Cheap Wayne Embry Jersey told The Enquirer late last year.
The former Cincinnati Royals guard has a crisp enthusiasm in his voice when he reflects on the night of Jan. 11, 1966 at the Cincinnati Gardens. He proudly shows the original Ford Galaxie paperwork he received with the vehicle in 1966. The Galaxie is still a shade under 60,000 miles. It is quite the eye candy.
And he is quite the unexpected former athlete, his humility and graciousness courtesy of his western Kentucky upbringing.
With the top down, Smith gets in the driver’s seat while three seated visitors wait for his next move. He carefully edges the car down the steep incline of the driveway and starts to cruise the neighborhood.
Sitting behind him is his son, Tyler Smith, who was six months old at the time of the big game.
Adrian’s younger passengers fire questions about the car at him like chest passes. He calmly answers each one like converting a layup.
Best player in the Galaxie
Every NBA All-Star had their eye on that red convertible at the Cincinnati Gardens that night in January 1966. It had been on display in the Gardens annex for a few games prior to Jan. 11.
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Smith had a photo taken with the red car. He figured he had a 20-1 shot before the game to win the vehicle.
But, his performance that night soon made it clear he was destined to be the driver.
“‘Hey, Smitty,’ Wilt Chamberlin said during a timeout huddle. “‘You’re making it awfully tough for me to win that car.'”
The Golo, Kentucky, native has joked over the years about how the car passes everything but a gas station.
But, its thoroughbred mentality is also evident. Smith knows. There was a time on the highway trip when the needle on the speedometer veered significantly to the right.
Tyler used to drive the car when he attended Turpin High School. He jokes he would never have ever returned home if the car was wrecked. Thankfully, that was never an issue.
To Cheap Adrian Smith Jersey, who grew up without indoor plumbing or electricity, the car represents a proud moment of his pro basketball career. But he also reiterates how blessed he was.
“Maybe I was the best player in the world that night,” Smith said. “I had no idea I would picked for the car or MVP of the All-Star Game. If I would’ve played a minute, I would’ve been satisfied.”
Smith drove the red vehicle for a few months and even showed it to his parents in western Kentucky.
But, he later turned it into the Ford office in Evendale and doesn’t know what happened to it.
Smith had the option to choose his own color for the car he owns today. He went for a combination of a silver blue with a dark blue top for the 7-litre, 428 cubic-inch engine vehicle.
The reason was simple. His loyalty to the University of Kentucky – where he played on Adolph Rupp’s 1958 national championship team – has never wavered.
The man could not be seen in a red car.
There is no price for the car. Multiple offers have been declined over the years. Smith has his Royals uniforms and his MVP trophy with no intention to sell them either.
Smith still has these items because late wife Paula made sure to keep all his basketball mementos.
Paula died in August. The couple would have been married 53 years in September.
Adrian remembers how Paula sat in the driver’s seat of the original red Ford Galaxie Smith received that night at the Gardens.
“Yougonnalet Mrs. Smith drive it once in a while?” Harry Caray asked Adrian.
Hearing that, the Gardens crowd roared with delight.