Price is Right: It's 'Machine,' Not Ray
He doesn't answer to Ray anymore -- he's "the Machine."
Ray Price was a high-scoring forward for the Washington Huskies, hence the catchy nickname. While his playing days have been over for a long time, the customized moniker remains firmly in place.
His high school coach in the Los Angeles area christened Price as the Machine when, as a senior, the flashy player averaged 36.3 points per game, which later made him the highest-scoring recruit signed by the UW.
Once in Seattle, the 6-foot-6 forward averaged 27.2 on the Huskies' then mandatory freshman team before moving to the varsity and scoring at a more modest pace of 9.1, 15.6 and 14.5 each season, with 34 points against USC as a junior his high game.
He shared the ball at the beginning of his UW career with Steve Hawes and at the end with James Edwards, both eventual NBA players.
"I was proud to be a Husky," Price said. "I bleed purple."
Price played basketball and baseball for the Huskies and was good enough to be drafted by pro teams in both sports. He was a fourth-round pick of the New Orleans Jazz and a middle-round selection as a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Yet he went where the top money was. He ended up playing pro basketball for a decade in Europe and South America, and even scored 79 points in a game for an Argentina team. His nickname was translated in Spanish to "la Magiuna."
Price is such a character, he turned up in a couple of Hollywood films. He appeared in "Fletch" playing one-on-one in basketball against Chevy Chase. He was a baseball pitcher in a scene cut out of "Brewster's Millions" featuring the late Richard Pryor.
Today, Price is living in Orange Country and retired from the printing business, where he handed out a business card that introduced him as, who else, the Machine.
He remains a devoted UW grad and Huskies follower, spearheading alumni events across Southern California.
"I like what coach (Mike) Hopkins has going on," he said.
Tanned and happy, the man formerly known as Ray appears to be a well-oiled Machine.