Ask young players coming into the league who they wanted to be growing up and you get a lot of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Michael Jordan, some Allen Iverson, some young ones say LeBron James, a few other players are mixed in there.
Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Carrick Felix went another direction: Tony Hawk.
“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.
He eventually had to give it up because his college coaches (and now his NBA contract) feel the same way about it that they do about base jumping — it’s too big an injury risk.
However Felix talks about skateboarding the way Steve Nash talks about soccer — it helped his footwork, his balance and there were other things that translated to the basketball court.
For now, his skateboarding days are done.
“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.”
Felix looked a little overwhelmed at points in Summer League, he shot 40 percent on his way to 7.2 points a game. But it’s a learning process adapting to the NBA.
Just like learning to skateboard.