Childhood & Early Basketball Career
Raymond Bernard Felton, Jr. was born on June 26, 1984, in Latta, South Carolina, US, to Raymond Felton Sr. and Barbara. He grew up with his two sisters: Charmaine and Juvonna. Raymond followed in the footsteps of his father into basketball. In Latta, Felton Sr. was regarded as a skilled basketball player during his time.
Raymond attended the ‘Latta High School’ in Latta, South Carolina. It was there that he commenced his career in basketball and went on to lead the high school in two state championships. He also garnered 2,992 points and 117 three-pointers, setting state scoring records.
In 2002, he received the ‘South Carolina Mr. Basketball’ award as a junior and as a senior and became the ‘Naismith Prep Player of the Year.’ The same year, he became the ‘Most Valuable Player (MVP) of Roundball Classic’ at the ‘United Center’ in Chicago and was chosen for the ‘McDonald's All-American Game.’ He was also named the No. 1 point guard and the No. 3 player in the country by ‘Scout.com.’
He came under the tutelage of the college basketball coach for the ‘North Carolina Tar Heels,’ Roy Williams, while playing college basketball for the ‘University of North Carolina.’ He was elected as the ‘ACC Freshman of the Week’ thrice and also became the ‘Carolina Player of the Year’ while he attended his freshman year. He was included in the ‘Third Team All-ACC’ during the 2002–2003 and the 2003–2004 seasons. He was part of the ‘ACC All-Freshmen Team’ during the 2002–2003 season.
Meanwhile, on December 7, 2003, during his second year with the team, while playing against ‘George Mason University,’ Raymond achieved the feat of setting a school record of single-game assists, scoring 18 assists.
He was again voted ‘Carolina's ‘MVP’ during the 2004–2005 season, a feat he shared with Sean May. On April 4, 2005, he led the ‘Tar Heels’ to win the 2005 ‘NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament’ against the ‘University of Illinois Fighting Illini’ in St. Louis. Raymond’s remarkable performance led him to get elected to the ‘All-ACC First Team’ that season and also win the ‘Bob Cousy Award’ in 2005. He also appeared on the cover of ‘NCAA March Madness 06,’ published by ‘EA Sports’ on October 11, 2005, after his junior campaign.
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The ‘Charlotte Bobcats’ selected Raymond as the fifth overall in the 2005 ‘NBA Draft.’ He garnered 18 points and 13 assists against the ‘Washington Wizards’ on January 28, 2006, marking his best all-round game during his rookie year. He was included in the ‘All-NBA Rookie Second Team’ during the 2005–2006 season.
He became the starting point guard of the ‘Bobcats’ in his second year with them and raised his statistical bar in almost all categories, including his assist-per-game tally (from 5.6 to 7.0). Although he continued his good performance (that saw his shooting percentage increase from 38 percent to 41 percent), Raymond strived in shooting from the three-point range.
He remained a restricted free agent during the 2009 off-season and instead of signing with another team, on September 23, 2009, he returned to the ‘Bobcats,’ signing a qualifying offer. He, however, could not put up a good show apart from increasing his field goal percentage to his career best of 46 percent and bettering his stroke from the three-point line, shooting 38.5 percent.
He became a free agent at the end of the 2009–2010 season. In July 2010, he signed a 2-year contract with the ‘New York Knicks’ for $15.8 million. He and Amar'e Stoudemire became co-captains in the 2011 season. Eventually, a three-way deal saw him being traded to the ‘Denver Nuggets’ on February 22, 2011. Overall, the 2010–2011 season marked his best, with Raymond averaging 15.5 points per game and 8.6 assists per game.
He was traded to the ‘Portland Trail Blazers’ during the 2011 ‘NBA Draft’ on June 23, 2011. His tenure with the ‘Blazers’ saw him having issues with the then-head coach, Nate McMillan, and was not too fruitful. It marked one of the worst seasons of his career.
He returned to the ‘New York Knicks’ after being traded on July 16, 2012, and signed a 3-year, $10 million extension with them. He garnered a season-high 27 points in a 112–92 road win against ‘Miami Heat’ on December 6, 2012.
He had brushes with the law when he was reportedly arrested for felony gun charges on February 25, 2014. He pleaded guilty and was slapped with a $5,000 fine and 500 hours of community service. He was also suspended by ‘NBA’ from the first four games during the 2014–2015 season.
He was traded to the ‘Dallas Mavericks’ on June 25, 2014. For the 2015–2016 season, Raymond used his player option with the team. He garnered 10 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds on December 12, 2015. He thus emerged as the first ‘Maverick’ after Jason Kidd (March 2011) to obtain a triple-double.He missed the first 31 games of the 2014–2015 season due to an ankle injury. That season, he played 29 games and had 3.7 points per game in the regular season.
He signed with the ‘Los Angeles Clippers’ on July 25, 2016, and after a brief stint there, he signed with ‘Oklahoma City Thunder’ on July 10 the following year. He re-signed with the latter on July 12, 2018. A year later, on July 1, 2019, he became an unrestricted free agent.
Family & Personal Life
Raymond was married to Ariane Raymondo from 2012 to 2014. On August 26, 2017, he got married to Tabitha Tuggle at the luxury Dallas, Texas hotel ‘The Joule.’
American professional basketball player Jalek Felton, who played for ‘Petrol Olimpija’ and is presently signed with ‘BC Nokia,’ is his nephew.