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Motivational speaker with a tech start-up, Carrick Felix not your average NBA player

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Motivational speaker with a tech start-up, Carrick Felix not your average NBA player

With less than three minutes remaining in the Wizards' exhibition game against China's Guangzhou Long-Lions on Monday night, guard Carrick Felix hustled to get position in the lane on defense to take a charge.

As soon as he was granted the call, the Wizards' bench all rose in unison to celebrate.

The Wizards were up nearly 30 points in a game most would deem meaningless. But for Felix, just being on the court was an achievement in its own.

Felix, 27, hasn't played in the NBA since the 2013-14 season, when he was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers in between the LeBron James eras.

A second round pick out of Arizona State in 2013, he spent the 2014 offseason with the Utah Jazz but soon after had his career derailed by a horrific knee injury.

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While playing with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the D-League, Felix fractured his knee cap. As he describes it, he "broke [his] knee in half."

That was in November of 2014 and from there he sat out two years, unable to play basketball but with plenty of time to think about his future.

"It was a struggle," Felix said on the Wizards Tipoff podcast. "It was a battle between fighting against myself and my mind and my demons and just trying to stay positive. During that time I was hurt, I learned a lot about myself."

Felix never wavered on his dream to return to the NBA, but he had no intention of putting all his eggs in one basket. With a masters degree in Communications from Arizona State University (he graduated early while playing), Felix explored his options. 

With the discipline of an Air Force family upbringing (including several years in the D.C. area), Felix did what he could to stay busy and maintain balance during an arduous rehab process.

"I started doing a lot of keynote speaking, a lot of public speaking," he said. "That's kind of what I want to get into is motivational speaking, when it's all said and done. I have a small start-up, a tech start-up, with a buddy of mine. I was able to take advantage of different things."

RELATED: JOHN WALL EYES MVP 

An NBA player with a tech start-up? Yes, the company is called Zing It.

"Basically what we are is like an online concierge service. We pretty much allow people to go onto our website and our app platform and pre-book their jetskis, boats, bikes; anything that has to do with outdoor recreational equipment. If you go on vacation, you can kinda chill and instead of going on Google and all that stuff, you can go on your phone and easily book what you want to do," Felix explained.

Felix has big plans for when, as he calls it, "the ball stops bouncing." He studies popular motivational speakers like Tony Robbins and Eric Thomas, hoping one day to find success in helping others. 

If Felix someday needs to demonstrate the power of perseverance in overcoming the odds, perhaps he can reference his own life as a testimonial.

After three full years away from the NBA, two of them rehabbing a devastating knee injury, his determination could be used to inspire.

Felix is now fully healthy and is one of the best dunkers on the Wizards. He won their team dunk contest on Friday night at training camp in Richmond and threw down a few crowd-pleasing slams on Monday against the Long-Lions.

Not bad for a guy whose career was once in real jeopardy.

"For me personally, it's been a blessing. Every day when I wake up I just look in the mirror and smile because having the opportunity like this, a lot of people don't get," he said.

Hear Felix's full interview on the Wizards Tipoff podcast right here:

RELATED: 10 QUESTIONS WITH BRADLEY BEAL

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Wizards vs. Cavaliers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards vs. Cavaliers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards battle LeBron James, Kevin Love, Dwyane Wade and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS GAME INFO

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 6 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 5 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)
Radio: 1500 AM

WIZARDS VS. CAVALIERS WHAT TO WATCH FOR:

Will Porter Play?

The Wizards got John Wall back on Wednesday and on Friday both Markieff Morris and Ian Mahinmi returned from injuries. But just three minutes into their win over the Clippers and Otto Porter went down with a right hip contusion.

Porter's status for Sunday is now in question. As of Saturday, he was considered doubtful but he will be re-evaluated before the game. If he can't play, expect Kelly Oubre, Jr. to get the start.

Measuring Stick:

The Wizards feel like their record should be much better than 16-13 as they have lost a host of games to teams with losing records.

Though they haven't completely turned the corner, they are coming off two straight wins with the second one much better than the first. All of a sudden, the Wizards have some momentum heading into their second meeting with the Cavs this season.

The Cavs, though, aren't playing too bad themselves. After beating the Jazz on Saturday night, they have won 17 of their last 18 games.

After starting the season a disappointing 5-7, they have caught fire and are now 22-8 through 30 games. With the Celtics stumbling, the Cavs are looking more and more like the best team in the East. This gives the Wizards a chance to see how they stack up.

PODCAST: MORRIS ON WHY THE WIZARDS ARE A TOUGH TEAM

Stopping LeBron:

LeBron James pretty much always plays well, but he was on a different level the first time these two teams squared off.

LeBron eruped for 57 points, the second-most in his career and completely dominated the WIzards. He shot 23-for-34 (67.6%) and added 11 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks. It was a masterpiece by one of the greatest players in NBA history.

The Wizards know it's pretty much impossible to stop LeBron, but they can certainly hope for better results than last time. In that game they opted to guard him one-on-one and he took advantage, particularly in the post.

Perhaps this time they will decided to deploy double teams.

RELATED: BRADLEY BEAL ON THE ART OF GETTING FOULED

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Otto Porter could miss Wizards' game vs. Cavs due to hip injury

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Otto Porter could miss Wizards' game vs. Cavs due to hip injury

The Wizards could be without one of their best players when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, as small forward Otto Porter continues to receive treatment for a right hip contusion.

Porter played just three minutes in the Wizards' win over the Clippers on Friday night before exiting with the injury. Head coach Scott Brooks said it happened when Porter took an elbow to his side.

Porter has dealt with right hip issues dating back to his rookie season, including a hip flexor and a torn labrum.

[RELATED: WALL IS NO LONGER ALLOWED TO DUNK IN PRACTICE]

The Wizards consider Porter doubtful for the Cavs game, but do not believe his injury to be serious and haven't ruled him out yet.

"Otto, he recovers," Brooks said. "When he gets hit, he's a tough guy and he recovers, so we'll see how he feels."

Losing Porter, 24, would be tough for a game against Cleveland. Porter could be used to help slow LeBron James, who had 57 points against the Wizards in their first meeting this season.

The Wizards know they are unlikely to stop LeBron, but Porter could help limit him. Without Porter, more responsibility will be on Kelly Oubre, Jr., Markieff Morris and others.

"Hopefully he can play because we're going to need him," Brooks said. "We're going to need bodies around him and being down one body isn't going to help. But it's no excuses."

Porter is averaging 14.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals this season. If he can't go, Oubre will likely start in his place at small forward.

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