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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Robert Parish’s Biggest Basketball Moment Came in the 8th Grade

With all due respect to Robert Parish, the man who is set to enter the Hall of Fame this weekend, his greatest basketball moment surely came in the 8th grade.

You’re likely familiar with the title of this blog, but if not, I’ll explain: this is a blog about the NBA (National Basketball Association) and the blog’s primary focus is on what happened on the court during the game, with the goal of highlighting the best plays and giving readers a better understanding of why those plays were so important. This blog focuses on the NBA at large, and not just the Boston Celtics.

I am a huge basketball fan and I can’t say anything bad about the Boston Celtics. My favorite player of all time is Robert Parish. Robert Parish was born on June 22, 1966 in New York City, New York. Robert is 6’9″, his best NBA season was in the 1996-1997 season with the Boston Celtics. Robert was a 6 time All-Star and a 7 time All-NBA First team selection. Robert Parish retired on June 30th, 2005. Robert is the all-time leader in games played (1411), minutes played (45,141), offensive rebounds (24,035), defensive rebounds (16,669), and blocked shots (6,735).. Read more about robert parish and let us know what you think.

It would be an understatement to say Robert Parish was a late bloomer. Because of his stature, the Boston Celtics icon was only interested in playing basketball. Parish was 6-foot-5 when he was in sixth school.

In the seventh grade, he had a happy moment. It was also his most memorable basketball moment.

In his early years, Robert Parish was underwhelmed by basketball.

Robert-Parish-Celtics-2-1024x717 During a game at the Boston Garden on Dec. 18, 1988, Boston Celtics center Robert Parish gets past New York Knicks Mark Jackson, left, and Patrick Ewing, right. | Getty Images/Bill Greene/The Boston Globe

Parish’s initial impression of basketball, according to a 2004 Sports Illustrated story, was agony. Both his coordination and his game were a problem for him. He was uncomfortable, but his height alone drew the notice of Coleman Kidd, the coach at Union Junior High in Shreveport, La.

It’s impossible to say what path Parish would have taken if it hadn’t been for Kidd. What is certain is that the Hall of Fame Celtics center would not have chosen basketball as a profession.

Initially, Parish was a skeptic of basketball. For the first three months, Kidd had to travel to Parish’s home to pick him up and bring him to practices. He took the large guy to scrimmages with him. Those scrimmages took place before the start of the school day. Others attended the practice games only to ridicule the 6-foot-5 13-year-old who couldn’t dribble or shoot.

In eighth grade, Robert Parish had his most memorable basketball moment.

Parish struggled with confidence as he tripped on the basketball floor. It eventually occurred after a year of working with Kidd to help him get the confidence he lacked. On the basketball floor, he had his most memorable moment.

Parish claimed it took him a year to make a layup. “It was a fantastic experience. I was in eighth grade at the time, and I remember being quite pleased with myself. I have the ability to make a layup.”

His self-assurance increased from there. He felt the same way.

He was a seven-footer at the end of his high school career. He was also a lot better at what he did. Dunks and 10-foot jumpers resulted from those layups. He rebounded well and was a solid defender. Parish led Woodlawn High School to the state championship in his senior year. Parish had over 300 colleges knocking on his door at the conclusion of his high school tenure.

Parish attended Centenary College and went on to play for the Boston Celtics, where he became a star.

Parish chose to play at Centenary College of Louisiana because he wanted to be near to home. He averaged 21.6 points and 16.9 rebounds per game throughout his four years on the court. Parish was selected eighth overall in the 1976 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors.

In 1980, the Celtics traded the top pick, along with another first-round pick, for Parish and Golden State’s No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft. With that selection, Boston selected Kevin McHale, forming what many believe to be the greatest frontcourt in NBA history, with Parish, McHale, and Larry Bird.

Parish handled the rebounding and guarded the opponent’s big man while Bird and Parish were the major scorers. He was a proven scorer, but unlike Bird and McHale, he didn’t need the ball.

“It’s also nice that I didn’t,” he said. “That’s why I’m a good match for that group.” It wouldn’t have worked if I’d been a person who required the ball and the touches. There were a number of men that required the finishing touches. I just went out and played. 

“It’s funny because if Kevin or Larry had a terrible night, the tales were always about Kevin or Larry having a bad night. ‘What’s up with Robert?’ was usually the question when I had a terrible night. The tales would be shown throughout the whole week. Nobody ever imagined that Kevin or Larry could shoot themselves out of a funk the next night. Because I was only getting nine touches each game, it would take longer for me.”

Parish was a member of the NBA for 21 years. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame after winning four NBA championships. He had his great NBA moments, but none of them would have occurred if it hadn’t been for that eighth-grade layup.

When Larry Bird was approached for autographs, he used to sign another superstar’s name.

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