Box And One With Smush Parker

By Wesley Chism Jr.
Updated: April 9, 2008

SEATTLE – When I was college, I used to spend my Saturday afternoons going to visit the residents at the Senior Citizen Center. I would read the newspaper, sing a song or just ask a lot of questions about what they did when they were my age.

It is a rich tradition that I’ve continued through all these years and I am now fortunate to share this experience with my wife and sons.

I remember a gentleman by the name of Mr. Dickerson. He was a huge baseball fan and depending on the weather had a great story to share about some of the players that he saw in the Negro League.

Mr. Dickerson had smooth dark skin, a full head of grey hair and striking features that could put him on the cover of GQ magazine. He was about 5-feet-7 tall but claims that he use to be 6-foot-4. He was very popular with the Ladies even until the day.

Before leaving, he would always say to me. “Son if you live to be as old as me and don’t have any regrets then you lived a boring life. Enjoy your youth; don’t be afraid to take a chance. Speak to people that look different than you and travel whenever you get the opportunity.”

I sat down with Smush Parker of the Los Angeles Clippers today and it seems as if the wind has left his sail. The first question that I asked was how things were going for him this season.

Right away I could tell that he thought that I was trying to be a wise guy. “What do you want to know?”, Parker said. “It’s been all over the newspaper and everyone has had a good laugh on my behalf.”

I assured him that wasn’t where I was coming from and I really don’t even know the story. It was reported that he got into an altercation with a valet in Miami at some restaurant.

The best way that I can explain to you what happened next is by asking this question. Do you remember at one of the music award shows and someone back stage didn’t know Rick James?

Rick James then got on stage and clarified things for her by replying, “I’m Rick James ……!” Well it is reported that the situation with Smush Parker sort of happened along those lines.

“I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that the past few months have been a pretty tough period for me”, Parker said.I am a Christian and have a strong faith in God. I do understand that everything happens for a reason.”

Smush has worked hard to be in the NBA and has played just about everywhere. He did a stint with the FIBA Europe League. He was on a couple of NBA D-League teams and suited up for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns.

His most noticeable success came while with the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I’ve always tried to stay positive during the whole ordeal. I feel that this has been a test for me.”

Smush was kind of stuck between a rock and hard place not knowing what was going to be next. The Miami Heat organization was telling his agent that they were going to bring him back but before you knew it three months had passed.

“I was very excited to get a second chance with the Los Angeles Clippers and I’m going to take full advantage of this opportunity”, said Parker.” I know that God has a plan for my life and that the sun was going to shine at the end of the tunnel.”

It was almost like he was on vacation so there won’t be any summer break in his future. “I wasn’t in the best of shape but did do some workouts on my own”, Parker said.

It’s a big difference not having actual game minutes to evaluate yourself.”

This summer Smush plans on playing in the summer league, working out twice a day and “coming back in the best shape of my life”, said Parker.I am going to be prepared and focused like never before.”

“What I’ve learned from this situation is that you have to be careful with the decisions that you make on and off the court. When these types of things occur in your life, for whatever reason, stay positive and try not to get down on yourself and learn from it.”

I’m sure that Smush regrets that this ever occured and will play so hard next season that we will forget about it too.