How good was Robert Parish? Looking at the achievements of the Celtics legend

How good was Robert Parish? Looking at the achievements of the Celtics legend

Helix Odhiambo
updated at January 18, 2024 at 4:20 AM
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Legendary Boston Celtics star Robert Parish spent 21 seasons in the NBA, establishing himself among the greatest. He finished his career as one of the longest-playing NBA players. Besides his longevity, his stats and achievements also speak volumes about his immense talent.

Robert Parish's age
Robert Parish poses for a picture at GQ Magazine's 2004 NBA All-Star Party at Astra West in West Hollywood, California, United States. Photo: Jean-Paul Aussenard
Source: Getty Images

Robert Parish was known for his strong defence, rebounding, and ability to jump high. Although he wrote his name in NBA history books, basketball was not his favourite sport. Discover more about the former centre, from his background to his career and family.

Robert Parish's profile summary

Full name

Robert Lee Parish


The Chief

Birth date

30 August 1953


70 (as of January 2024)


Shreveport, Louisiana, United States




2.16 m (7'1")


104 kg (230 lbs)


Woodlawn High School, Centenary College of Louisiana


Former basketball player (center)

NBA teams

Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls

Playing career

1976 - 1997


Robert Parish Sr., Ada Parish


Nancy Saad (ex-wife)



Net worth

$12 million

How old is Robert Parish?

NBA legend Robert Parish (age 70 as of January 2024) was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. He is an American citizen of black ethnicity.

Robert Parish's height and weight

Robert Parish Hall of Fame
Robert Parish of the Charlotte Hornets waves to the crowd ahead of their game against Boston Celtics circa 1995 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: D. Raphael
Source: Getty Images

The Chief is 2.16 m or 7 feet and 1 inch tall, ranking among the tallest NBA stars ever. His incredible height helped him win aerial balls and shoot over opponents. Robert's weight is 104 kg or 230 lbs.

Robert Parish's family

The former centre was born to Robert Sr. and Ada Parish. He is the oldest in the family of four children. The Celtics legend is the only one in his family to pursue a sporting career. Parish studied at Union High School but later moved to Woodlawn High School. He graduated with a degree in education at Centenary College of Louisiana.

Robert Parish's career

Robert Parish's rings
Robert Parish (C) of the Celtics rebounds against Bob McAdoo (L) and Norm Nixon (R) of the LA Lakers during their 1982 NBA game at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: D. Raphael
Source: Getty Images

The 7-foot-1-inch former centre grew up as a football and baseball fan. He competed in track events but was inspired by his parents and mentor, Coleman Kidd, to play basketball in junior high school.

"My parents, my junior high school coach, pursued me for maybe two weeks before I finally went to the first basketball practice," Robert said in a past interview. "And so I went for a week, and then I just stopped going. And so the coach came to my house and wanted to know why I stopped coming to practise." He added.

High school

Parish enrolled at Woodlawn High School in Shreveport and played basketball under coach Ken Ivy. He helped Woodlawn win the 1972 Louisiana High School Athletic Association Class AAAA state championship title. The Chief also earned the All-American, All-State, All-District, and All-City honours.

College career

Robert played basketball at Centenary College from 1972 to 1976 under coach Larry Little. However, he was one of the students who endured lengthy legal battles and penalties from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

The NCAA had a standard testing score determining student eligibility, which affected Parish and four other students. Despite that, the college included them in their roster. The Chief recorded 87-21 wins, averaging 21.6 points and 16.9 rebounds per game. The NCAA later abolished the rule but declined to acknowledge his stats.

NBA career

Robert Parish's height
Robert Parish (no. 00) of the Celtics jumps high during their 1982 NBA game against the Atlanta Hawks at the Omni Coliseum in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Focus on Sport
Source: Getty Images

Parish became the first athlete to play 21 seasons in the NBA (1976-1997). As of January 2024, only ten players have gone at least 20 seasons or more in the league's history, including the all-time leader, Vince Carter (22 seasons), and recently, LeBron James.

The Chief got selected in the first round of the 1976 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors. He spent four seasons with the Warriors, averaging 13.8 points per game, 9,5 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks. Robert joined the Boston Celtics in 1980, linking with Larry Bird and Kevin McHale.

How many rings did Robert Parish win at Celtics? The legendary centre led the Celtics to five NBA Finals and three championships during his 14-year tenure. He left as a free agent after the 1993-1994 season to join the Charlotte Hornets, where he played for two years before signing with the Chicago Bulls.

At Chicago Bulls, Robert Parish won another NBA championship during the 1996-1997 season, becoming the oldest player to win the title at 43 years.

Robert Parish's stats and achievements

Robert Parish's stats
Robert Parish of the Charlotte Hornets is honoured for breaking the record for all-time games played on 6 April 1996 at Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo: Scott Cunningham
Source: Getty Images

The former Celtics centre played 1611 games in the NBA, averaging 14.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. Robert Parish's accolades include four NBA championships and nine-time All-Star honours. He also bagged the gold medal at the 1975 Pan American Games with Team USA.

The Chief was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996 and inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.

What was Robert Parish's age when he retired?

The 7-foot-1-inch legend retired in August 1997 at 43. He was Maryland Mustangs's head coach in 2001 and posted a best record of 19 wins and 11 losses, earning him the Coach of the Year award.

Interesting facts about Robert Parish

What is Robert Parish doing now?
Legendary athlete Robert Parish had a successful career in the NBA, inspiring many generations who grew up admiring him. Photo: David M. Benett, D. Raphael (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

The 2003 Hall of Famer, Robert Parish, established himself among the greatest NBA athletes. He is an inspiration and role model to many. Here is a breakdown of other fascinating things about him.

Robert Parish's net worth and earnings

The American has an estimated net worth of $12 million as of January 2024. He received lucrative deals, including a $5.5 million two-year deal with the Celtics in 1990 and a further $7.5 million for extending his contract in 1992. Robert earned over $27 million in salary in his NBA career.

Why did Robert Parish wear 00?

Why did Robert Parish wear 00?
Former Boston Celtics star Robert Parish shows fans his framed jersey during a ceremony retiring his number "00" at halftime of the Celtics and Pacers game on 18 January 1998. Photo: John Mottern
Source: Getty Images

The Chief wore jersey 00 because of his poor performance in junior high school. According to the NBA star, the best players got the first jerseys in school, and since he was not good, he settled for the last. The Celtics retired Robert Parish's jersey in 1998.

Is he married?

The NBA legend married Nancy Saad but later got divorced in 1990. Nancy sued the former centre for allegedly beating and physically abusing her throughout their 10-year relationship.

Robert Parish's children

The Chief reportedly has a son, Justin Parish, whom he got with his ex-wife Nancy. Robert Parish's son played basketball for Moorpark College and Northwest Nazarene University during the early 2000s.

What is Robert Parish doing now?

Despite retiring and quitting coaching, Robert remains involved in the sport as a mentor and ambassador. The NBA legend bought a 2.2-acre mansion in Tallahassee, Florida, at $925k in 2017, where he reportedly stays.

Final word

Robert Parish's biography paints a picture of an exceptional athlete who left an indelible mark in basketball. He rose from a humble beginning to conquering a sport he never liked. His journey is a testament to passion, hard work, and dedication.

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Helix Odhiambo photo
Helix Odhiambo
Helix Odhiambo is an award-winning Kenyan journalist and content creator with over 6 years of experience. In 2016, he won the Goal Blaze Correspondent Award for young writers.