“They have put together a team that is probably one of the greatest ever to walk the floor.” (Photo courtesy of TJ Manotoc)
Long before Jordan Clarkson, Kiefer Ravena, Rayray Parks and Kobe Paras, Raymond Townsend became the first player of Filipino descent to make the hoops-crazy nation’s NBA dream a reality.
Townsend joined ABS-CBN Sports’ own TJ Manotoc in an exclusive interview to talk about his Filipino heritage, Golden State’s latest championship, and the Dubs’ bright future.
Born to Batangas native Virginia Marella and American Raymond Sr., Townsend was picked 22nd overall in the 1978 draft by the Golden State Warriors and in the league for seven seasons, playing 154 games before taking his talents overseas.
This season, the former Warrior became a huge part of the inaugural Filipino Heritage Week celebration when he was honored by the Golden State organization for bridging the Philippines and the NBA.
“I had no idea that I was going to be put in that kind of a stage with that kind of an arena. I’m very grateful, very, very grateful to the Warriors Organization. I’m grateful to the NBA,” Townsend said, “[It was a] very, very unforgettable night full of memories.”
Townsend on the addition of Kevin Durant
Last year’s offseason, the league was turned upside down by Kevin Durant’s shocking decision to leave Oklahoma City for Golden State.
Though skeptical at first, Townsend was eventually left in awe at how Durant was able to flourish with the Warriors as the season progressed, eventually leading the team to the 2017 NBA title, capped off with a performance worthy of a Finals MVP award.
“As great as Kevin Durant is I knew he was coming into a culture that was ingrained into these players who’ve been there for quite a while,” Townsend said.
“My biggest concern is, was he going to be able to fit into this new culture? Coming from Oklahoma City where he took majority of the shots with Westbrook. Coming into place right now, [he] has to share the ball and do that,” Townsend recounts,
“But like I said, he bought into the Warrior culture, he played fantastic this year. And he’s the MVP of the finals.”
Warriors a start of an NBA Dynasty? Townsend thinks so
After the Warriors’ stellar regular season and an even more dominant postseason run that saw them lose just one game, Townsend sees no reason this current squad can’t be the start of a “Golden” age in the NBA.
“So when I think about playing the Cleveland Cavaliers coming into the series, Cleveland there’s no way they were going to get this series,” Townsend says, “Because they have to play near perfect basketball.”
We all know what happened, Townsend’s — and majority of NBA fans’ prediction came true.
“I don’t believe there’s an NBA team that exist in this day right now I can get them,” he said of the Warriors.
And on the Dubs’ bright future, Townsend is a firm believer:
“I think you’re seeing the start of a dynasty, barring injury… They have put together a team that is probably one of the greatest ever to walk the floor.”
With a report from TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN News.
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