How Robert Parish Overcame His Stifled College Career to Become One of the Best Centers in the NBA

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For someone who didn’t like basketball growing up, Robert Parish became very good at it. He preferred baseball, track & field and football. However, as a 7-foot 1-inch center, Parish became known for his defensive abilities, endurance and agility. 

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Parish played for some of the biggest teams and won the National Basketball Association (NBA) four times. In this post, we’ll go through Parish’s career.

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Robert Parish’s Early Life

Spotcovery-How Robert Parish Overcame His Stifled College Career to Become One of the Best Centers in the NBA
Former NBA player Robert Parish. Source: Wikimedia licensed by Public domain

By the time Parish was 12 years old, he was 6 foot 6 inches tall and was introduced to basketball by his junior high coach. When he joined Woodlawn High School, Parish played the game and helped the school win the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Class AAAA state championship.  

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College Basketball

Highlights of Robert Parish’s career. Video Credit: Back Rim Basketball

Parish moved to Centenary College in Louisiana and liked the school’s coaches. However, his career faced challenges after the NCAA rendered him and other athletes ineligible after they took a test that wasn’t recognized by the organization.

In previous years, Centenary got away with giving its student-athletes this standardized test and converting it to the NCAA’s eligibility formula. However, after Parish joined, the NCAA tightened its surveillance and barred him from competing. 

The school rescinded his scholarship after he was placed on probation for refusing to align themselves with the organization. Parish and the other athletes unsuccessfully sued the NCAA.

Despite these troubles, Parish represented the United States in the 1975 Pan-American Games. He captained the team and won the gold medal. After, a second appeal by his school saw Parish’s record recognized.

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Professional Career

Robert Parish’s career highlights. Video Credit: CrunchyManSopa

After a challenging spell in college, the Golden State Warriors drafted Parish in the 1976 NBA draft as a first-round eighth-overall pick. He played for them for four years and then moved to the Boston Celtics. This was one of the most successful periods of his career.

He won the NBA Championship thrice. During this period, he also made it into the NBA All-Star side. He then moved to the Charlotte Hornets before he went to the Chicago Bulls, where he won his last NBA Championship. 

Throughout his career, Parish made over 23, 300 points and over 14, 700 points.

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Manager 

After his playing career, Robert Parish transitioned to coaching and worked as the Maryland Mustangs head coach in the United States Basketball League (USBL). He took the team to 19 wins and 11 losses and was named the USBL Coach of the Year. 

However, the Maryland Mustangs folded after a season and he went on to work as the Boston Celtics’ consultant. Robert Parish proved his doubters wrong. Even in the face of an unfair ban, he continued playing the game. 

His and Team USA’s success at the Pan American Games opened the doors for him and showed how good he was. When he finally got to the NBA, he entertained fans and played a big part in the team’s success.

Robert Parish proved his critics wrong. Even in the face of an unfair ban, he continued playing the game. His success and that of Team USA at the Pan American Games opened the doors for him and showed how good he was. When he finally got to the NBA, he entertained fans and played a big part in the team’s success.

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