Felix, Ex-Center for Lakers, Dies
Ray Felix, the NBA’s rookie of the year in 1953-54, died of a heart attack in New York on Sunday. He was 60.
The 6-foot-11 Felix played nine pro seasons, the last two with the Lakers in their Los Angeles debut.
Felix, a star at Long Island University, entered the NBA in 1953 after his sophomore year because the school dropped basketball as the result of a point-shaving scandal. Felix joined the old Baltimore Bullets and made the all-star team as a rookie. Playing for the East, he had 13 points and 11 rebounds in the All-Star game but never appeared in another.
He played his next five seasons with the Knicks before the trade that sent him to the Minneapolis Lakers, who moved to Los Angeles a year later.
“He was one of the first big men,” says Dodger Vice President Tom Hawkins, a Laker teammate.
“Ray didn’t have the speed or mobility or jumping ability of some of the younger guys, but he could still give you some good, aggressive play. He didn’t back down from anybody.
“He was a character. When we moved to L.A., our coach, Fred Schaus, decided to eliminate cliques. We were all going to room with someone different every trip. Everybody had different habits. Ray liked heat. He’d turn the thermostat up as high as it would go and then sleep under the covers. Whoever else was in the room would suffocate.
“Then Ray would get up at 3 o’clock in the morning, run the water in the bathtub and have what we called a splash-a-rama. We all looked forward to Ray’s splash-a-ramas.”
In recent years, Felix worked for the New York park district.