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B'sCeltsPatsSox
01-26-2013, 02:01 PM
CORNELIUS, N.C. — He was always the mystery man in the middle, 00 on a team where 33 drew the spotlight and 32 the laughs, a proudly impassive, hugely talented, ever elusive presence.

Robert Parish, “The Chief,” rarely talked to the media and never hung around with Celtics teammates after a game. Associates say he would not answer his phone, letting messages go to voicemail. After leaving the team in 1994, he let his connection to the Green fray and fade, even to the point of selling off his 1986 world championship ring for spending money.

So it was a surprise when this resolute loner picked up the phone at his home in North Carolina on the third ring.

“People shouldn’t feel sad; they should help me get a job,” said the Hall of Fame center with the deep voice on the other end. “I need a coaching job in the NBA. I’m restless and I need money. ”

At 8 the following morning, a jovial Parish, looking as if he could still hit that rainbow jumper over Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, stretches out on an enormous couch, sips mineral water, and answers questions for nearly two hours.

Parish, 59, said that Bird and McHale, both of whom have held coaching and front office jobs in the league (McHale is the coach of the Houston Rockets), have done nothing to help him in his quest to return to the NBA, although he says he has reached out to them. He calls his Hall of Fame teammates “acquaintances.”


STAN GROSSFELD/GLOBE STAFF

Parish, who played more NBA games than anyone in history, says now: “I’m restless and I need money.”

“In my case, I don’t have any friends,’’ Parish said. “I saw Kevin at an event; he said he was going to call me. He never called. I called Larry twice when he was at the Indiana Pacers; he never returned my call. And not just Larry. Across the board, most NBA teams do not call back. You need a court order just to get a phone call back from these organizations. I’m not a part of their fraternity.”

Bird has a rather different recollection. Traveling, he sent a concise text in response to questions from the Globe: “Robert never called me for a job. Period.”

McHale, for his part, expressed remorse in a voicemail. He said he tried to hire Parish when he was in Minnesota, but “I went back and checked . . . we were actually reducing spots at the time. Then I was let go from Minnesota.”

He says he saw Parish later, when McHale worked for TNT.

“I feel terrible about the whole thing, but I just didn’t have a position,’’ McHale said. “I would have loved to have hired Robert if something would’ve came up.”

Parish said he never called former teammate and Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge directly, but he has talked to the Celtics.

“You would think Danny would’ve stepped up and said something,’’ he said. “I think he’s got a little pull with the organization. But I didn’t take it personal. I understood.’’

He won championships with these guys, so why no love?

“I know it’s hard to believe,” he said with a shrug, “But trust me, that’s right.”

Pressed for a further explanation, he answered, “I don’t know. I would not consider myself part of Larry’s inner circle, like he’s not in my inner circle. Same thing with Kevin. He’s not in my inner circle; I’m not in his inner circle. Same thing with Danny. You know we respect each other. We had the camaraderie, obviously, collectively, on the team because of our success on the court. But off the court, you know, we weren’t hanging out going to dinner, drinks, going to the movies, double dating, whatever you wanted to do. We weren’t doing any of that.”

Parish is pressed on his relationship with Ainge.

He responds by reaching back in time, telling a story about how Celtics president Red Auerbach and coach K.C. Jones once asked him to take fewer shots because Dennis Johnson and Ainge wanted more scoring opportunities. The Chief readily agreed.

“Danny is selfish, even after I made the sacrifice for him and DJ, he still asked to be traded.’’

Parish said that Bill Walton, whom he calls “the most honest person I ever met, besides my parents,” has given him some realistic advice.

“He said most teams are not going to call you back, it’s not personal, it’s protocol. Don’t take it personal, don’t be insulted by it. It’s just the way it is.”

Several years ago, his representatives reached out to all 30 NBA teams. Only two called him back. Now he’s trying harder. “I’ve been guilty of that, too, not returning phone calls.’’ he said. “We all have. “

He says he’s not angry at his teammates, either.

“I have never sat here and said those [expletive] didn’t call me back. Not one time. I am very proud of this fact.”

Named one of 50 greatest

Nobody played in more NBA games than the Chief. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003 and had been named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history in 1996.

One of the most unselfish players ever to play, Parish was so stoic that teammate Cedric Maxwell started calling him “Chief” after the uncommunicative Native American in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.’’

Not anymore.

“I want to get the word out,” Parish said. “NBA coach, assistant coach, front office, or television would be fine.’’

The Celtics hired him in 2004 for public relations work, but Parish found the $80,000 salary too low. “I want to make it clear, I’m not whining, and the Celtics owe me nothing. But having said that, you would think at least I would have a conversation about a coaching job, since that’s what I want to do.”


STAN GROSSFELD/GLOBE STAFF

Parish, who earned roughly $24 million in 21 years in the NBA, says he needs a job with a substantial six-to-seven-figure salary. “I don’t want to have to start over. I’m not homeless and I’m not penniless, but I need to work.”

Parish, who earned roughly $24 million in 21 years in the NBA, says he needs a job with a substantial six-to-seven-figure salary. “I don’t want to have to start over. I’m not homeless and I’m not penniless, but I need to work.”

Parish, who lives in an immaculate, tastefully decorated tan stucco home on the edge of a golf course, says his money was drained away because he wasn’t working and he was “too generous” with family, friends, and significant others.

“There’s no need in crying about that now. I’m not making no excuses ’cause I’m to blame. I enjoyed it. I don’t want to come across as Poor Robert.’’

He’s sold all four championship rings, his Basketball Hall of Fame ring, and his 50 Greatest NBA players ring to net several hundred thousand dollars.

He expresses some remorse for selling his Celtics rings, but not a lot. “The truth is, I never looked at them,” he said.

The hardest piece of jewelry to part with was the 50 Greatest NBA players ring.

“For me that signified that I was the player I thought I was. That was vindication for all the naysayers.”

The Chief is sure he could be a head coach or assistant in the NBA.

“I know X’s and O’s. I know when to call a timeout,” he says. “I earn respect. I’m a positive thinker. I’ve got 30 years’ experience playing basketball.”

But he has barely worked since he retired in 1997. He was Coach of the Year with the Maryland Mustangs of the United States Basketball League in 2001, but the team folded. He says that the last three years of his playing career, with Charlotte and Chicago Bulls, were essentially coaching jobs. “I did a lot of mentoring,” he said.

Problems with the law

Parish knows well that there are marks on his resume that get in the way when it comes to getting the kind of high-profile position he longs for. He says he is still constantly reminded of his marijuana bust in 1993 when two ounces of pot arrived via FedEx at his Weston home. A police dog had detected the marijuana in the package. Police followed with a search warrant and he was charged with possession. He paid a $30 fine and was on probation for five years.

“That will never go away,” he says. Parish, who says he smoked marijuana to relax after games, says he stopped smoking in 1995. “But people don’t believe that, and I’ll never live it down.”

The domestic violence incident of June 2, 1987 with his then-wife, Nancy Saad, also still haunts him. “We were in Los Angeles to play the Lakers [in the NBA Finals]. She came by to my hotel and I had a guest. She flips out ’cause I’ve got a guest.”

The argument escalated and Parish lost his temper. He said he pushed her into a doorway across the hall.

“Looking back on it, her intent was to provoke me to do something physically and it succeeded,’’ he said. “I take the blame for that, hook, line and sinker. I’m not going to downplay the domestic violence. I’m not going to downplay that under no circumstance, I regret it. You should never put your hands on a woman, under any circumstances.’’

He admits the pot and the domestic violence are “skeletons in his closet.”

“But you’re talking about the ’80s and ’90s, good gracious . . . Let it go. We all deserve a second chance.”

Parish returns to New England on Saturday for an an autograph signing at the South Shore Plaza in Braintree from noon to 2 p.m.

He said he’d like to live in Boston full-time, but it’s too cold. He has a message for fans who are worried about his well-being.

“I appreciate the love and the concern. I’ve never questioned their love or their loyalty to me. Boston treated me exceptionally well. I have no complaints about the fans or the Celtics organization. I feel like I got a fair shake. All love from both sides, hopefully. I know there’s nothing but love from my side.”

Boston Globe (http://bostonglobe.com/sports/2013/01/26/robert-parish-yearns-for-nba-coaching-job/O3jeC9Y8GUqnLYVmvAsbLM/story.html)

This was kinda sad to read

Fresno
01-26-2013, 02:11 PM
So he blew $24 Million earned over a 21 year NBA career between 1975-1997 along with the 17 years since he has been retired?

Now this I actually believe on how an athlete could go "broke".

After awhile with no income coming in, any money you've saved 17 years after retiring is going to dry up with having to pay your bills and taxes.

Really feel his complaints because a player with his basketball IQ & experience as a player definetly should have gotten an opportunity on the NBA or college level as an assistant coach trained to teach big men how to play. None of these big men know anything.

But him turning down a $80K per year job 9 years ago to be a community relations guy like what Scottie Pippen does for Chicago because it wasn't enough money is pretty dumb.

marvILLous
01-26-2013, 02:11 PM
He's probably a real sucky person to be around lol

There's probably a reason ppl are staying away from him cuz I'm sure he'd have no problem finding a job in the NBA otherwise

kozelkid
01-26-2013, 02:11 PM
While I feel bad for the guy, it really seems like he made his bed, not to mention he is in no place to complain about 80k a year. I understand if he wants a job more respectable than "public relations," but he really can't complain about the salary. That aside, I still think he could be a promising big man coach.

Fresno
01-26-2013, 02:15 PM
While I feel bad for the guy, it really seems like he made his bed, not to mention he is in no place to complain about 80k a year. I understand if he wants a job more respectable than "public relations," but he really can't complain about the salary. That aside, I still think he could be a promising big man coach.

He turned down the job in 2004. Must have thought he had a coaching job lined up.

Thats a long time ago, but at this point I'm pretty sure he'd take it if offered again.

Teams probably dont want to hire him because he is 59 years old, take Detroit for example, Parish is probably old enough to be Andre Drummond's grandpa.

Fresno
01-26-2013, 02:19 PM
He's probably a real sucky person to be around lol

There's probably a reason ppl are staying away from him cuz I'm sure he'd have no problem finding a job in the NBA otherwise

It says in the article that he didn't involve himself personally with teammates or other players, so when he retired he didn't have many personal connections to get into coaching.

Now he is hoping someone would give him an opportunity regardless of this.

ElFuturoDeESPN
01-26-2013, 02:34 PM
He says he is still constantly reminded of his marijuana bust in 1993 when two ounces of pot arrived via FedEx at his Weston home. A police dog had detected the marijuana in the package. Police followed with a search warrant and he was charged with possession. He paid a $30 fine and was on probation for five years.

A $30 fine for TWO OZ's?! I know several people that would have loved that kind of leniency :laugh:

JasonJohnHorn
01-26-2013, 04:56 PM
I was always a big chief fan and though he could have easily been putting up great numbers if he were on a weaker team (25/13 for sure), but he was on a team with Bird and McHale, and like guys like Gasol and Duncan, he is unselfish and all about the team first, so he'll give up scoring opportunities.


I also think it is odd that the Celtics bring in Ainge, who demanded a trade from the team during his playing days, and not Parish. At the same time though, I find it odd that the Celtics did give him a PR job for 80 000 and he left it because it didn't pay enough. I realize he's used to making so much as a player, and that 80 000 doesn't seem like much, but that is a LOT of money, especially if you already have a house that is already paid for. You aren't going to be driving around in a Bentley with that kind of income, but you can afford a BMW. So I gotta believe that even though he sold off his rings, that he isn't that hard up for money if he's willing to turn down a job that pays 80 000 a year.

Also, I though the fact that he only made 24 million in 21 seasons is kind of sad. Kobe Bryant made more last season than Parish made in his entire career. That is sad. I know the 24 million sounds like a lot, but he was in actuality making less than many bankers in NY.

Parish was grossly underpaid for what he brought to the game. Coupled with that, it seems to me that teams would want to bring in a guy like Parish to help develop their young post players. Hakeem works out with guys a lot, and Kareem has worked for the Lakers from time to time working with Bynum. I'd think Parish would have been offered a job by somebody.


I also find it curious (and I say this in all honestly and with no intention of 'baiting') that they guys on his team who were white had an easy time finding NBA jobs (Brid, McHale and Ainge) while he has not. I think the NBA is far ahead of a lot of leagues in terms of how minorities are represented in coaching, but I'm not sure that extends to the front office, and it seems odd that a guy with Parish's resume would not have a host of offers, though again, the fact that he turned down an 80 000 a year job suggests to me that he isn't that hurting for money.

Seriously though, Brian Scalibrine was offered jobs in television and on the bench, and Parish has not. That is weird.