Robert Parish, the most durable player ever. He played 1,611 games (most in NBA history) in little over 2 decades.
Strangely as a kid, he wasn’t interested in basketball at all. In fact, he hated it.
It was Coleman Kidd, the basketball coach in Union Junior High School who noticed his imposing frame. He was pushing him all the way. Basically, making him wanna fall in love with the game. Which, obviously he did.
After high school, he played for the Centenary College of Louisiana. It was pretty modest performance really. In 1976 he was drafted by the Golden State Warriors. After 4 years with them, believe it or not, he thought of retiring. Robert didn’t really feel that he had passion for the game.
The style, the system in Golden State was not right for him. He thought his teammates were very selfish and individualistic. They didn’t care about the team.
They weren’t going anywhere. But that soon was going to change after a “destiny call” from Boston. In 1980, he was traded there. “It was like a shot in the arm that I needed”… said Parish.
People could tell that he found his place there. It’s an interesting thought from Robert Parish about playing collectively with Larry and Kevin. He said…
“We put our egos aside because the name on the front of the jersey was more important than the name on the back of the jersey.” The amazingly fast fast break that he was able to execute despite his height 2.15 m, was ridiculous.
Together with Kevin McHale and Larry Bird, he was a crucial ingredient in one of the most productive front lines in the history of the NBA.
“It’s hard for me to even believe how good we were,” he reflected. “Some nights I’d be out there just kicking some guy’s butt, really feeling it, and then I’d look over and see what Kevin was doing, and what Larry was doing, and I’d say, ‘Man, this is something. This is special.'”
Larry Bird called him the most unselfish player he ever played with.
He lasted there for 14 years. Then two more with the Hornets and then one more with the Bulls. No other player played more games in the NBA.
One of the reasons he was able to manage so many games was because of the off court activities like “Tae Kwon Do” (the martial art discipline). That made him meditate, stretch and relax.
He finished his career with three NBA titles with the Celtics and another one with the Chicago Bulls in 1997.
After a record 21 seasons, he said…
“I think it’s time,” he said. “I know in my heart that it’s time to walk away.”