When he was traded to the Boston Celtics in 1979, Robert Parish showed up out of shape for his first training camp. He quickly learned that hard work and dedication would be the key to success with the team.
Robert Parish was a basketball player in the NBA, and he played for the Boston Celtics. One day, when he showed up to his first training camp out of shape, his coach told him that he would never play for them again.
Robert Parish was a crucial component of the Boston Celtics’ success in the 1980s, despite being overlooked by other players on the team. However, the big guy didn’t always work in Beantown. Before coming east, he began his career in Golden State and had many unsuccessful seasons in the Bay Area.
That transaction had a secondary advantage for Parish, in addition to altering the direction of NBA history. When The Chief arrived in Boston, he recognized he needed to focus more on his fitness, which helped pave the way for a long professional career.
Before joining the Boston Celtics, Robert Parish started his NBA career with a struggling Golden State Warriors team.
With the exception of their injury woes, the Golden State Warriors have proved to be one of the best teams in recent NBA history. Robert Parish, however, joined the franchise during a less-than-optimistic time.
The big man joined the Warriors as the eighth overall selection in the 1976 NBA draft after getting his start at Centenary College. Despite the fact that the team had just recently won a title, things were going in the wrong way. They reached the playoffs during Parish’s first season, but then went on to have a long playoff drought.
As you would expect, being in such a bad position took its toll on Parish.
“Before the trade, I was really considering having a very short basketball career because of all the losses I had with the Warriors and being blamed for their demise,” Parish said on the Rainin’ Js podcast (H/T Mass Live). “I understand it since I was the first player selected, and I bear the brunt of the guilt. Basketball, on the other hand, is not an individual sport. It’s a group sport. And I simply get the impression that the squad was made up of misfits with too much autonomous thought. Guys were more concerned with themselves than with the team.”
A lifeline, however, came in June 1980. The Chief was obtained in a trade by the Celtics.
The Boston Celtics are teaching us about the significance of conditioning.
During his tenure with the Boston Celtics, Robert Parish drives to the basket. | Jim Wilson/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Parish’s basketball career was given a fresh breath when he joined the Celtics. However, before the big man’s first season on the east coast could begin, he needed to learn a lesson about how things were done in Boston.
Parish told NESN.com’s Ben Watanabe in 2012, “I felt my career had completely altered from day one in training camp.” “Everyone at Golden State very much coasted and played themselves into shape while I was there. Except for me, who took the summer off after being traded, everyone on the Celtics reported to training camp in good condition. It was the first time since I began playing basketball that I had not trained. “I took a break for the whole summer.”
Parish never forgot about his fitness again, despite the fact that coming to training camp out of shape wasn’t the greatest approach to impress his new teammates.
“It taught me a vital lesson because when your livelihood is dependent on your body, there are no vacations,” he added. “You must maintain your fitness throughout the year. That was the one moment in my basketball career that I let myself get out of shape.”
Robert Parish’s professional life was forever changed as a result of that lesson.
It’s a world of difference between claiming to have learnt a lesson and really doing so. Parish, on the other hand, seems to have lived what he taught.
Parish is known for his brilliance in Boston, where he won three championships with the Celtics and then added another ring with the Chicago Bulls, but he is also remembered for his remarkable endurance. The big man lasted 21 seasons in the league, and only once did he play less than 74 games in a season. Over the course of his career, he appeared in 1,611 games, which is remains the NBA record for most games played.
An old ESPN article explicitly titled “Longevity was Parish hallmark” adds to the notion that Parish took his fitness seriously. In that article, Peter May stated that in order to perform as effectively as possible on the hardwood, the large guy studied martial arts, abstained from alcohol, and maintained a strict diet.
After all, it’s hard to say what would have happened to Parish if he hadn’t signed with the Celtics. But, if nothing else, the big man is certain that his time at the first training camp helped him prolong his basketball career.
He told Watanabe, “Oh, without a doubt.” “That event was my greatest teacher. It was an important lesson. Even more importantly, it was a priceless lesson.”
Basketball-Reference.com provided the statistics.
Robert Parish may be a Hall of Famer, but he began wearing the number 00 because he was the team’s “worst player.”
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