Raymond Townsend – The FIRST Filipino NBA Player (For Real) October 6, 2008Posted by C0Y in People, Sports.
Tags: Erik Spoelstra, First Filipino NBA player, Raymund Anthony Townsend
Five months ago, I wrote about coach Erik Spoelstra being the first Filipino in the NBA and how proud we Filipinos are, though he’s just half a Filipino. But here’s the thing (and I stand corrected), the truth is, he is actually NOT the first Filipino in the NBA.
So who’ really the first Pinoy on the NBA?
He goes by the name Raymond Anthony Townsend, a A 6’3″, 175-lb point guard from UCLA who was the last pick in the first round (22nd overall) of the 1978 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors. Raymond is the son of Ray Sr., (an American), and the former Virginia Marella, who happens to be a Filipina from Balayan, Batangas. This makes him a half-Filipino and the first in the NBA.
But why didn’t we Filipinos know this? Or why isn’t he recognized in any way?
In an email he sent me, he said: “Hello, my name is Raymond Townsend. For the record and to set this straight, I am the first and only filipino to ever play in the NBA, I am the first and only Asian-American to ever be drafted in the NBA First Round. I have also NEVER shirked nor been quiet of my “pinoy” heritage. I am a proud filipino but in those days when I played your culture or heritage were never an important issue because the game was dominated by the black athlete. Now with the influx of international players the NBA is now commercializing the sport internationally with their marketing and taking their business into the world. In Fact, On November 21st, 2008, the Golden State Warriors will be hosting their first Filipino Heritage Night with a game versus the Chicago Bulls. I will be a participating in that event. To no surprise, they sold the arena out in thirty days and are now planning even a bigger event in late March or early April for a second Filipino Heritage Night. Little did the NBA know how much Basketball is the unifying factor for many of our people”.
I really hope somebody will recognize him formally one day cause I guess being the first Filipino in such a very competitive league deserves some recognition.
By the way, 4 years later (1982), he concluded his NBA career under the Indiana Pacers.
- Is It Too Late? – it may be too late to recognize him as the firs Pinoy in the NBA, but I guess he won’t mind if we do it now.
- I Wonder Why – why we Filipinos haven’t heard of this player before. We’ve long been waiting for someone to break the barrier and make it to the NBA, yet we didn’t know that Raymund already made it without us knowing. This is sad.
- Thanks To – by the way, I have to thank somebody named “ghybot for providing me this information. Who knows, he may be the son of the first Pinoy in the NBA.