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Robert Lee Parish (born in Shreveport, Louisiana) is a retired American Basketball Center (basketball). He was known for his strong defense and jump shooting, and was elected to the Basketball in 2003. In 1997, Parish was also named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. His nickname was "The Chief", after the mute Native American in the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. According to Parish, former Celtics forward Cedric Maxwell gave Parish this nickname because of his stoic nature.
After a modest career at Centenary College of Louisiana, Parish was drafted in the first round of the 1976 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors, before being sent to the Boston Celtics. He compared his transition from Golden State to Boston in a televised quote where he jokingly said it was like going from an outhouse to a penthouse. Playing 14 years with the Celtics from 1980 to 1994, Parish won three NBA titles (1981, 1984 and 1986) teaming with legendary small forward Larry Bird and power forward Kevin McHale. The trio is regarded by many as the best frontcourt in NBA history and was dubbed the "Big Three".
He played two more seasons with the Charlotte Hornets and then played his final season with the Chicago Bulls in 1996-97, which led to his fourth NBA title. At 43, he is the third oldest player to ever play an NBA game (to Nat Hickey of the Providence Steamrollers, and Kevin Willis of the Dallas Mavericks) and as of 2007, his 1,611 games played over 21 seasons are unmatched.
He was known as a versatile center, using his impressive 7' 1/2" size and speed to contain opposing players, launch precise shots from outside the paint, and finish fast breaks - the latter uncanny for a man of his stature. Fellow Hall of Famer and teammate from 1985-87 Bill Walton once called Parish the "greatest shooting big man of all time", perhaps because of Parish's field goal and free throw shooting ability, an unusual talent among most centers. His trademark was his high release Jump shot (basketball), which traversed a very high arc before falling.
In honor of his achievements, the Celtics retired Parish's famous #00 jersey number in 1998 at halftime of a Celtics-Pacers game; this allowed Larry Bird, then head coach of the Pacers, to participate in the ceremony. He was enshrined in the Basketball in 2003. In 1996, Parish, along with teammates Larry Bird and Kevin McHale, was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
Today, he remains active as the Celtics' team consultant and mentor for current Celtics' big men.
- Robert Parish NBA Legends Bio
- nba.com historical playerfile
- NBA stats @ basketballreference.com
- Where Are They Now?: Robert Parish @ NBA.com
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