The 15 greatest bigs in New York Knicks history

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New York Knicks

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 6: Ray Felix #19 of the New York Knicks shoots during an NBA game against the Rochester Royals on December 6, 1955 at the Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. (Photo by Hy Peskin/Getty Images) (Set Number: X3361)

Ray Felix

Ray Felix was an absolute beast on the boards. Despite being a more slender big man, he racked in stats comparable to an Andre Drummond of modern day.

Felix averaged a double double in his first and fourth of his 6-season tenure with the Knicks, ultimately averaging 12 points and 9.1 rebounds in that time.

Playing as a pro straight through the 1950s, he was among the early big men to prove they could be nimble and agile enough to play basketball at a high level. Although blocks weren’t recorded yet, he was known for being a menacing rim protector.

While Felix played his prime years in New York, he, unfortunately, isn’t remembered for winning much with the Knicks, a reasonable outcome of playing in the pre-globalized professional basketball era in which the Boston Celtics won nearly every year.

So it is fitting that perhaps one of the uglier moments in his career was when he got into an altercation on the court with the famed Bill Russell, who knocked out Felix in front of a crowd of spectators with a punch to the head. He eventually would meet up with Russell again in the NBA Finals when Felix played for the Lakers in 1962.

Ultimately, Felix’s legacy is blurred by lack of supporting stats and frankly, lack of national fanfare for a struggling pre-NBA/ABA merger basketball era. He would go on to work for the NYC Parks Department and tragically died of a heart attack in 1991. The former No. 1 overall pick gave his best years to the Knicks and was a New Yorker through and through.

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