Robert Parish hopes to find work

Hall of Famer Robert Parish works with youth from the South Boston Boys & Girls Club.
aynsley floyd/Gillette/ap images
Hall of Famer Robert Parish works with youth from the South Boston Boys & Girls Club.

Robert Parish leaned over the lectern so that the microphone could catch his voice, sharp and deep, with a touch of Southern, befitting his Louisiana roots.

Rows of youths at the South Boston Boys & Girls Club sat before him, listening as he shared lessons about health and hygiene at an event sponsored by Gillette.

The Celtics Hall of Famer remarked at one point Tuesday afternoon how, as he approaches his 60th birthday later this month, he’s often told he looks better than his age.


“That’s because I take care of myself,” the 7-footer said at the community event, still svelte, fit, and alert, his cheeks and chin spotted with gray stubble here and there.

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But Parish, “The Chief,” admitted that his age might be working against him as he tries to find a job, an endeavor that he said is more out of boredom than for money.

“I think I may have waited a little long, because I’m sliding into 60,” he said. “That’s the time when people are starting to retire, as opposed to looking for work.”

In a January interview with the Globe from his home in Cornelius, N.C., Parish talked about his effort to find work. Seven months later, little has changed.

He said he’s keeping busy: working out, going to movies, traveling. He recently went to Shanghai as an ambassador for the NBA. He is also doing more community events.


If he golfed, that might help pass time, but he doesn’t.

“I’m ready to do something,” he said, looking around the room. “Because going to movies, doing these type of events, I want more on my plate. I want to be busier.”

Parish would like a job in basketball, he said, because “that’s what I know.”

He played in more NBA games than anyone (1,611 over 21 seasons), was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history in 1996, and was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2003.

He said he’s gotten the word out to all the NBA teams about the possibility of a coaching or front office job — and also to television networks about being an on-air analyst.


Did he receive any promising feedback?

‘I take most of the blame because when I retired, I basically disappeared.’

“Promising rhetoric — ‘Oh, we’re so glad you want to get back into the NBA. We’re so glad to hear it.’ And all that,” Parish said. “And that’s it.

“That’s a start. At least they’re not hanging up on me.

“But like I said, I just started auditioning and campaigning and soliciting, so all the positions are taken now. I’ve just got to be patient. And, also, I can’t lose sight of the fact that there are only so many jobs to be had.”

He paused.

“I’ve just got to be patient.”

Parish had also previously said he never heard back from his former teammate Larry Bird when Parish called Bird twice about a job with the Indiana Pacers.

Earlier this year, Bird, now the president of the Pacers, responded to that comment in a text message to the Globe: “Robert never called me for a job. Period.”

Speaking Tuesday, Parish said, “He said he didn’t get the message, and I’m not going to argue with him. I left a message. I don’t have his personal number. I called the office and left a message on his voice mail. Maybe he didn’t get it.”

After sharing lessons with children about manhood, Parish talked at times as if he wished he could tell his younger self about an approach he should have taken.

“I take most of the blame because when I retired, I basically disappeared,” said Parish, a resolute loner who was known not to answer the phone or return calls. “I didn’t want to do anything for a long time. And when I played, I didn’t foster any relationships that could benefit me now. I kind of did my own thing.”

“A lot of this, I bring on myself,” he continued. “I feel like, had I reached out to people when I first retired, I think it would’ve been a lot easier to get work as opposed to 16 years later.

“People are like, ‘Oh, you want to do something now?’ ”

For now, he said, he is available, passing the time while hoping too much hasn’t passed already.

Baxter Holmes can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @BaxterHolmes.