Robert Parish was destined to play for the Boston Celtics. Though Parish went on to play the most games in NBA history, he almost quit basketball after the 1979 NBA season.
“I was contemplating retiring because I was losing my passion for the game,” Parish told the Boston Herald. “I didn’t enjoy playing and the guys I played with were very selfish and individualistic.”
Before the 1980 NBA season, however, Red Auerbach made a trade that would dramatically alter not only Robert Parish’s career, but the future of the NBA as well. Auerbach traded the 1st and 13th picks in the upcoming draft to the Golden State Warriors for Robert Parish and the 3rd pick, which turned out to be Kevin McHale.
McHale and Parish teamed up with Larry Bird to form, “The Big Three,” one of the best frountcourts ever and the nucleus for three Championships in the 1980′s as well as the best team in Boston Celtics history in 1986.
“Once I got traded,” Parish said, ” I felt rejuventated, with a new lease on life. It was a shot in the arm and I need that. That change recharged my batteries.”
Recharged like the Energizer Bunny, Parish went on to make 9 All-star appearances as a Celtic and won 4 NBA Championships, the last with the Chicago Buls in 1997. He is currently the 24th leading scorer in NBA history, the 7th leading rebounder and the 9th leading shot-blocker.
“It’s hard for me to even believe how good we were,” Parish later told the NBA website. “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.’”