Felton Spencer, Former NBA Center, Dies at 55

Felton Spencer’s cause of death hasn’t been announced, but the former NBA star’s sister said he died peacefully on Sunday, March 12.


Mar. 13 2023, Published 12:26 p.m. ET

Former University of Louisville athlete and retired NBA center Felton Spencer died on Sunday, March 12, at age 55, and both his loved ones and his alma mater have posted remembrances.

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"Our beloved Felton Spencer — former @uofl basketball legend, retired 12-year NBA veteran and 6th pick in the 1990 NBA Draft, and former assistant college coach — passed away peacefully this afternoon," Tammy Pollock, whom People reports is Felton’s youngest sister, wrote in a Twitter thread on Sunday.

Felton Spencer’s cause of death has not been announced.

There’s been no word on Felton’s cause of death, but Tammy said in a follow-up tweet that her brother “received excellent care in his final hours from the providers at the University of Louisville Hospital, his alma mater that he loved so dearly.”

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She went on: “Our family thanks them and everyone who participated in his care. We are proud of all he did on the court and in his personal life. He was a kind, gentle giant whose physical presence will be sorely missed. While we are heartbroken, we are comforted by your thoughts and prayers.”

University of Louisville’s men’s basketball team also tweeted a tribute to Felton on Sunday. “We’re heartbroken by the passing of UofL great Felton Spencer,” the team said. “Spencer was the Cardinals’ all-time leader in career field goal percentage, the 6th overall pick in the 1990 NBA Draft, [and] a beloved member of the Louisville community. Our thoughts [and] prayers are with his loved ones.”

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After his Louisville days, Felton played for various NBA teams before turning to coaching.

According to Yahoo! Sports, Felton and his teammates won three consecutive Metro Conference tournament wins as he played for Louisville between 1986 and 1990. His 62.8-percent field goal percentage is still a Cardinals record.

At the 1990 NBA Draft, Felton linked up with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and after averaging 7.1 points and 7.9 rebounds per game in his first Timberwolves season, he joined the 1991 NBA All-Rookie Second Team. Later in his NBA career, Felton played for the Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, and New York Knicks.

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Felton retired from professional basketball in 2002, having averaged 5.2 points and 5.4 rebounds across 604 NBA games. He then served as assistant coach at Spalding University and Bellarmine University.

Fellow NBA alum Rex Chapman called Felton “one of the sweetest, kindest people” he’s ever known.

“Felton Spencer was one of the sweetest, kindest people I’ve ever known,” retired NBA player Rex Chapman tweeted on Sunday. “Grew up in Kentucky together [and] have known each other since age 15. Played on the last Kentucky all-star team to sweep Indiana together. Played against one another in college [and] the pros. A sad day. Rest, Big Fella.”

And Kenny Payne, Louisville’s head men’s basketball coach and one of Felton’s former Cardinals teammates, tweeted, “My heart is broken today hearing about my brother Felton. My love and prayers go out to Momma Betty, his sisters, and brother Mac. All Cardinals, please put his family in our prayers.”

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