Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Carrick Felix probably counted Kobe and LeBron as his basketball heroes growing up. The Cavs’ second round pick certainly shows off an athletic swingman’s game that somewhat resembles those two, but Felix’s initial top overall athletic hero didn’t even play the sport of basketball. That hero’s game doesn’t actually even feature a ball at all, though you are encouraged to wear a helmet.
Felix wanted to be a skater, while growing up in Phoenix. The Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Mary Schmitt-Boyer found out as much recently, in an interview with Felix:
"I wanted to be the next Tony Hawk,'' he said, referring to the most famous skateboarder in the world.
From the age of 7, when a neighbor kid on a skateboard landed in Felix's front yard outside Phoenix, until his junior year in high school, Felix was on his board all day every day. "I was always outside practicing from 7 o'clock in the morning to 12 o'clock at night,'' he admitted.
Of course, by the time Felix received a scholarship to play basketball at Arizona State, his coaches decided that the potentially ankle and knee-punishing aspects of board work should probably be put aside. After all, unlike surfboard obsessions, there’s that nasty concrete to think about should Felix take a tumble.
The Cavaliers have echoed that concern. From the Plain-Dealer:
"The skateboard is off limits,'' Felix said, laughing. "I still have it in my room. I never get on it [but] it's always fun to look at.''
I wouldn’t presume to much of anything about skateboarding because, in spite of some punkier pursuits during junior high, my experience on a board is limited to a few wasted afternoons in the summer of 1987 after watching ‘Back to the Future’ for the trillionth time. I do know that one bad spill, though, could put the eager rookie out of commission for a long time.
Felix seems to be taking his divorce from the board he loves in stride in this feature, but this has to be a ragin’ full-on harsher of a bummer (that’s some good skater talk, right?) for the rookie. It’s one thing for kids to grow up playing more traditional sports like baseball of football, or counting artier pursuits as their favorite hobbies. Skateboarding combines a bit of both, and yet even without the potential for a 90-mile an hour fastball or hulking linebacker in the picture, skateboarding is (rightfully) considered too dangerous an activity for an NBA player on his off days.
One supposes Felix can always fall back on Tony Hawk’s quite popular video game series, should the urge strike him. Unless the Cavaliers are worried about potential carpal tunnel injuries caused by video game overuse. He does have that three-point stroke to figure out, after all.