Red: Parish Doesn't Take a Back Seat to Anyone

February 8, 1984

Starting tonight, Celtics fans will be treated to a smorgasbord of summit meetings featuring Robert Parish against three of the NBA's top centers.Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Lakers are in town tonight, Ralph Sampson and the Rockets will be at the Garden Friday night, and Sunday afternoon there's a chance that Moses Malone (ankle injury) will be back in action when the Sixers resume war with the Celtics.

Seattle's Jack Sikma is the only missing pivot star. Sikma, Malone, Abdul- Jabbar, Sampson and Parish are considered the top five big men in the game, and there's evidence that Parish may be the best of the lot at the moment. Parish, without question, is the top running center in the league. Statistically, he ranks ahead of Abdul-Jabbar, Sampson and Malone in field goal and free throw percentage, and has been the most durable of the big four.

"I don't make comparisons," says Celtics general manager Red Auerbach. "But Parish doesn't take a back seat to any one of them right now. He's playing exceptionally well, good enough to be ranked with anyone playing in the NBA today." Parish's first test comes against Abdul-Jabbar, who can become the NBA's career scoring leader (passing Wilt Chamberlain's 31,419) by averaging 20 points a game for the rest of the season.

How much does Abdul-Jabbar mean to LA?

"Kareem is still the man," says Celtics coach K.C. Jones. "He has been and always will be as long as he plays for the Lakers. He takes the big shot, gets the big rebound and makes the big block. He makes it possible for the other players to go out and play their game." He's all yours, Chief. And when you're through, Ralphie and Moses will be waiting.

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