The New Kid In Town
By Brian Wheeler
One of the top classic rock bands of all time, The Eagles, had a big hit with the title of this article. A couple of key lines from the song can apply to the subject I cover here. “Great expectations, everybody’s watching you”. And “everybody loves you so don’t let them down”.
Yes, it’s not easy being the “new kid in town”, but Raymond Felton has fit in seamlessly to a Blazers’ team that already had some solid chemistry. And as the starting point guard, he knows if anything, his job is to enhance it further. “I’ve got some unbelievable teammates,” said Felton. “I know a lot of teams that have been torn apart by guys with their own agenda’s. There’s none of that going on in our locker room.”
Point guards by nature are leaders, and Raymond feels he was destined to be one. “I’ve always been a take charge guy, even when I was a kid. My mom told me to never be a follower, to always be a leader, and that has stayed with me ever since.”
Felton had some NBA guys he admired growing up, but his biggest influence was a lot closer to home. “I enjoyed watching Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, and Allen Iverson as I started to develop my skills. But the person I idolized the most was my dad. He was a basketball player, too, and I’d watch his games when I was a kid. All his teammates loved him because he was so unselfish. I’d always ask him about why he did certain things in a game, and he was amazed I could remember so many of them. Even back then, I knew I wanted to make basketball my life.”
Now that he’s here in Portland after a few previous NBA stops, Felton isn’t looking to go anywhere else. “I want to stay here. I’ve made that known publicly. I’ve told my parents, my other family members, and the Blazers’ organization. Hopefully this can be where I’ll stay for the next 45 years!”
At the age of 27, Raymond fits right in with a Blazers’ nucleus of players that could be around for a while. “I love these guys. Love their attitudes. We’ve got some youth, but still some experience as well. We’ve all made the play-offs, but most of us haven’t gotten out of the first round yet. We are determined to get that done this season.”
A lot of so-called NBA experts seem to be overlooking this Blazers’ team when the subject of play-off and title contenders is discussed. That’s perfectly alright with Felton. “We don’t mind people talking about other teams. We hope we stay under the radar all season because when the smoke clears, we’ll see who’s talking about who. Some people aren’t even picking us to make the play-offs. That’s a slap in our faces, but you know what…that fuels us. In the end, we have total control of our own destiny!”
“Everybody’s talking about the new kid in town. Everybody’s walking like the new kid in town.” A couple more lines from The Eagles’ hit, but they can certainly apply to Raymond Felton. A new guy that everybody figures to be talking about if he can become the long-term answer to the Blazers’ point guard position. Only one question remains…can he play guitar like Joe Walsh though?