He was a mountain of a man…
All-Pro star of the Baltimore Colts, Bubba Smith is dead at age 66. They found him in his LA home. Officials say he died of natural causes. At one time he was a close friend of mine when I lived in LA. Bubba and I, along with Aaron Binder (who also passed) worked out together at 24-Hour Fitness near Barrington just inside Santa Monica. I used to live about two miles from the club. Next to the gym is the Santa Monica Airport.
I met Bubba through Sonny Landham shortly after my release from prison. Both were big guys. It was stranger still when I later met and worked with Bubba’s co-star in the Police Academy movies, Michael Winslow(the voice guy). Winslow has worked Stanford’s now for over 10 years. He and I, along with my wife at the time Connie, went on a long cruise a couple years back. Nice family the Winslows.
Bubba was such a nice person. Scary but kind. Respectful.
My big moment came about 18 years ago with him. I was living in both KC and LA at the time around ’92 or ’93 and my roommate in KC was Paul Fredrocks, a huge star of on KY 102. Paul asked me to come on his show with Hollywood stories and interviews. I had just taken a job with Hard Copy as a producer and had the OJ Simpson Case to cover for nearly a year.
Bubba gave me a whopper.
He said that the Colts threw the 1969 Super Bowl to the New York Jets. That coach Don Shula of the Colts was in on the fix to save the league and the Superbowl. Wow. Bubba told me he was benched most of the game because he saw what was going on and complained to Shula.
The Colts were a much better team and big favorite to win the game the one Joe Namath "guaranteed" a victory.
Oddly Shula would end up in Miami a couple years later and have the one and only PERFECT SEASON with the Dolphins including a Super Bowl Win. Who knows? Sounded true at the time. Later Bubba gave the same story to Sports Illustrated. I taped it at the gym and gave it to Paul at Ky.
I saw Bubba less and less since KC has become my home again. In fact, I thought something might be wrong because every time I was in LA at the gym Bubba seemed to show up at some point. But not the last couple years. I never thought of him as getting older or sick. He was always in shape. Had a heart of gold.
By the way he loved the Chiefs and I believe his brother was a Chief’s running back in the 60’s. Police Academy gave him a second career along with tons of commercials like all the beer spots he did.
Bubba you will be badly missed. A giant man with an even bigger heart.