The NBA season is in full swing, and the Golden State Warriors are on a historic run. But what about the rest of us? It’s been a rough year for sports fans.
The just giving up is a phrase that has been used to describe the current state of the NBA. Many people have questioned whether or not the league is just giving up on its fans.
Defense wins championships, as the old sports adage goes. While this may not always be the case in reality, the Boston Celtics had a number of strong defenders on their squad during their great run in the 1980s. Robert Parish was the most prominent of them.
Even after his retirement, the big man has strong views about how teams should handle their defensive duties. Zone defense, in Parish’s opinion, should be avoided at all costs.
Robert Parish has a lot of experience in the NBA.
Parish began wearing the number 00 in junior high school because he was the weakest player on the basketball team. The huge guy, on the other hand, became into a living legend throughout the course of his career.
Parish entered the 1976 NBA draft after establishing a reputation for himself at Centenary College, and was selected eighth overall by the Golden State Warriors. Despite the fact that the team had just recently won a title, on-court performances had begun to deteriorate. But everything changed in the summer of 1980. The Chief packed his belongings and went to Boston, due to a deal.
Parish joined up with Larry Bird and Kevin McHale in Boston to help the Celtics reclaim their former glory. While Larry Legend may have gotten the most of the attention, the Chief was nonetheless an important part of three championship teams. He had a surprise delicate shooting touch and, due to his height, length, and general agility, he was more than capable of defending heavy lifting.
That skill set paid off in the long run. Parish played in the NBA for 21 seasons, averaging 14.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game while winning four championship rings.
Zone defense is being referred to as “giving up.”
The Boston Celtics’ Robert Parish (L) and Kevin McHale (R) play defense. | Tom Berg/ WireImage
Man-to-man defense dominated the NBA during Parish’s time, and abandoning your opponent for any reason other than a blatant double-team was deemed an unlawful defensive infraction. Although the policy was modified after the 2000-01 campaign, it seems that the Chief was not pleased with the move.
In a 2012 interview with NESN.com’s Ben Watanabe, the former Boston Bruins center revealed that he was looking for a job as a television commentator. When asked to comment on a current NBA problem, Parish chose to focus on a particular defensive approach.
I’ll tell you one thing about today’s game that I don’t like: the zone defense. Professionals should not be playing a zone, in my opinion. Personally, I believe they are just giving up and surrendering. We didn’t think about playing a zone while we were playing. Man-up, man-on-man, mano a mano was the order of the day. At the professional level, you can’t stop anybody one-on-one, so that’s where your teammates come in.
Robert Parish gave a speech in 2012.
The Chief then went on to explain that he preferred man-to-man defense.
“I like man-to-man interactions. Zone, in my opinion, is acknowledging you have a defensive flaw,” Parish said. “Defending does not need skill. Defense, like rebounding, is a cerebral game. It has to be something you want to do.”
While zone defense is still allowed in the NBA today, Parish’s assertions about man-to-dominance man’s aren’t that strange. Zone is used by certain teams on occasion, but no one relies on it full-time. The Chief, on the other hand, hasn’t shied away from expressing his thoughts on some of basketball’s most contentious issues over the years.
Consider the GOAT discussion in the NBA. While most fans would vote for Michael Jordan or LeBron James to win, Parish went with a more traditional approach.
When asked about the best players in NBA history during a 2017 interview on the In the Post with Elvin Hayes podcast, The Chief mentioned Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Parish raised some eyebrows when he said that Jordan had not defeated any great teams on route to his six titles.
Parish addressed the subject in a 2023 interview with Cedric Maxwell on the Cedric Maxwell Podcast, praising Kareem over His Airness.
The Chief said, “I don’t agree with [naming Jordan the GOAT].” “Michael was a tremendous player in his day, and you have to credit him for winning six championships in a row, including two three-peats. I understand and appreciate your point of view. But you know Kareem, as wonderful as Michael was and as talented as he was. That skyhook couldn’t be stopped.”
Say what you want about Robert Parish, but at least he believes in himself.
Basketball-Reference.com provided the statistics.
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