Raymond Felton Bowls for OKC Youth at Holiday Festival
Only a 60-foot stretch of slick wooden planks separated the staredown between Raymond Felton and a set of bowling pins. All eyes were on Felton when he took his first attempt of the night.
Shimmying his hips before he took the momentum-generating steps toward the foul line, Felton then unfurled a gliding 13-pound orb of swirling gold that hurtled down the lane like a meteor.
The pins violently flew into chaos detonating a cacophony of whoops and cheers. Strike.
Tuesday evening was filled with thunderous crashes along with high-fives and fist pumps at Dust Bowl Lanes during Felton’s Holiday Festival where matches from Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Oklahoma reveled in gifts, food and fun.
Serving as a long-time ambassador of the mentor network since coming into the NBA, Felton wanted to continue his work with the children in Oklahoma City. And throwing a party at the local bowling alley provided him the chance to connect with the youth while delivering some holiday cheer.
“Some kids are not as fortunate to get all the gifts and things that they want,” said Felton. “I try to do something where they have a good time, get some food, get a chance to bowl and to get some presents. They get a chance to have fun, clear their mind and be free for a little bit.”
Aside from his family, Felton’s passion for working with young people stemmed from the coaches he had growing up. Working as a mentor for BBBS was a way for Felton to honor the people who have made a difference in his life.
“To have somebody who’s a Big Brother himself is so special because he knew exactly what it meant,” said Jacquelyn Edwards, OKC director, Big Brothers Big Sisters. “He cares about being here and care about meeting every person.”
True to his modus operandi, Felton reached out to all of the youngsters to tweak their form or engage in small talk while taking photo ops all night long.
For Felton, setting a good example for the future by being a good role model went beyond strikes and spares.
Watching Felton work with the aspiring Strike Queens and Kings on hand stirred emotions for Big Brother James McQuillar, who have been mentoring the youth for 40 years.
“I see a guy who gives back to the community,” said McQuillar. “He’s a guy who is unselfish and cares about the community.”
Mentoring on and off the court. Working with young people fuels Felton. Photo by Zach Beeker | OKC Thunder
Big Brother for life. BBBS is the nation’s first youth mentoring organization and has been able to change the lives of the city’s most disadvantaged children, matching them with caring adult role models – dependable friends who can help to expand their horizons, realize their potential and enrich their futures. Raymond is proud to be associated with the program since 2005. Photo by Zach Beeker | OKC Thunder
Kingpin. Felton: "Every now and then I can bowl to 165 or more." Photo by Zach Beeker | OKC Thunder
Watch: Raymond Felton Throws Bowling Party in OKC