Raymond Anthony Townsend (born December 20, 1955, in San José, California, USA) is a former American professional basketball player. A 6'3" guard, he was the first Filipino-American to play in the National Basketball Association.
For his first three years in high school, he attended Archbishop Mitty High School, in San José, California and played Varsity Basketball. He was All-WCAL League (First Team) as a Sophomore and the WCAL MVP as a Junior. A feat only won by himself and Kevin Restani (San Antonio Spurs) in the history of the toughest basketball league in Northern California. He then transferred to Camden High school, in San José, California, and played his senior year, becoming the BVAL MVP before being visited by UCLA legendary Coach John Wooden. Among his many honors, Townsend averaged 27.2 points per game (without the 3-point line) and was a consensus High School All-American Basketball Player in 1974.
He attended college at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and played for the legendary coach John Wooden. He was John Wooden's last recruit and the last player of the Wooden era to graduate from UCLA. After four seasons with the Bruins, his best year in college ball statistically was his final season where he avaraged 14.7 points per game. As a Freshman he won the Irv Polymeyer Award (Freshman of the Year). He was the starting guard 3 out of 4 years for the UCLA Basketball Team (75-78) in which his team were never ranked less than 6th in the Nation. His senior season he was chosen as an All-American guard, All-Pacific Ten First Team, the NCAA Western Regional First Team, and UCLA Team MVP. He is still one of the top five shooting guards in UCLA history hitting over 54.6% of his perimeter shots his senior season. He also tied Jamaal Wilkes (then Keith Wilkes) for the best free throw shooting percentage in UCLA history hitting 87.2% of his free throws (currently 7th on the UCLA all-time list) his final season. Little did people know but Coach Wooden allowed Raymond to play for the UCLA Varsity Baseball team. As a UCLA Varsity baseball starter, he played for the legendary Coach Gary Adams. The switch hitting shorstop had a very good baseball career with a three year career batting average of .310 and one of the best season performers his senior year as Pacific Ten Champs beating USC for the Title. His senior year he hit an amazing .356 during his final season at UCLA (Highlighted by a stretch of 18 at bats with 18 consectutive hits only to come to an end in a game versus Pepperdine). He was drafted both his Junior year by the California Angels and his Senior season as the 125th pick in the nation with the Cincinnati Reds. He chose basketball with the Golden State Warriors over baseball with the Cincinnati Reds.
Townsend was selected in the first round (22nd pick overall) of the 1978 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors. Raymond is still, to this day, the first and only Filipino-American to play in the NBA and ever be drafted in the NBA First Round since the NBA's inception. He became a starter for the Warriors his second year in March of 1979, after NBA All-Star guard, Phil Smith, went down with a season ending injury. As the Warriors starting guard, Townsend proved himself as he averaged 12.0 points and 5 assists per game in 36 minutes played per game. His career high was 29 points versus the Clippers in 1979.
On October 21, 1981, he was signed as a free agent with the Indiana Pacers. However, on December 22, 1981, Townsend was waived by the Pacers, only to be re-signed by them on December 25, 1981 where he ended his NBA career before going on to play in Europe.
He also played overseas in Rome, Italy, for Banco Di Roma, one of the most dominant teams in Europe during the mid-eighties. Raymond's best season was in 1985 where he averaged 25 points per game and was the second leading scorer in the Italian "Division A" League behind Scott May. He played a total of 7 years overseas in over 30 different countries throughout his career before he retired from basketball in 1988.
Townsend, has been working with children over the past 18 years. He founded and manages the RT Basketball Development League in San Jose, the first "year-round" educational basketball league and the catalyst of over 100 leagues today serving the San Jose community annually. He has served over 20,000 children through his RT Basketball Leagues. He also was very instrumental in the San Jose area, as an Administrator, Educator, Athletic director and Coach, in both the Public and Private education sector serving children with Special Needs who were diagnosed with emotional handicaps and learning disabilities. He has served over 10,000 children throughout his educational career. For his efforts off the court with impacting children's lives he was honored as UCLA Pilipino Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumnus of the Year on May 2, 2009.
He is currently the President of the Filipino Hoops and Heritage Tour bringing the NBA and the Filipino communities together throughout the United States to celebrate the diverse culture of his fellow Kababayans, promote the young Filipino entertainers who will perform at the games to "Follow their Dreams, raise funds for Typhoon Relief in the Philippine Islands to rebuild after Typhoon Ondoy/Ketsana and impact the NBA communities he is partnering with throughout this FHHN tour.
Raymond plans on continuing God's vision to impact children with RT Basketball and the Filipino Hoops and Heritage Tour, inspire and motivate youth to "Follow their Dreams", speak nationally at youth conventions, churches and take the NBA back to the Philippines to give back to the youth of his culture and heritage.
Townsend has two daughters, Rachelle, 26, who received her Master's Degree at the University of Oregon in Child Psychology and is currently working in San José, California, impacting children's lives. His other daughter is Kristiara, 19, who is currently starting her college education with her dream of working with children in the Performing Arts (dance) industry serving the inner-city youth.
Raymond's mother, the former Virginia Marella, is a Filipina from Balayan, Taal, Batangas, while his father, Ray Sr., is an American, making Townsend one of the first players of at least part Asian ancestry to play in the NBA.
A 1976 Sports Illustrated issue featured Townsend's father, Ray Sr., in its "Faces in the Crowd" section. He was recognized as "the oldest junior college basketball player in history." At age 39, he was the second man off the bench.