Parish: No Comparison between New and Old Big 3 . . . Yet
NBA Hall of Famer Robert Parish won three NBA titles with the Celtics as part of the original "Big Three": himself, Larry Bird, and Kevin McHale. The Chief also played on the Bulls' 1997 championship team, led by a star trio of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman.
So how would Parish compare his champion teammates with Boston's current All-Star trio of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen?
"There is no comparison until they win something," said Parish. "Another point is it would be unfair for those guys to compare them to us because our careers are over. Their careers are not over with yet. And they are different ballplayers. It wouldn't be fair to compare anyway.
"Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett are great players. Larry, Kevin, and Robert were great players. I'll just leave it like that."
Parish will be in Boston Tuesday to promote the 1985-86 NBA Champions DVD set at Borders on School Street from 1-3 p.m. He will sign autographs for those buying the set, which includes all six 1986 Finals games against the Rockets as well as a highlight DVD.
"I definitely have fond memories of that '85-86 season," Parish said. "Any time you are part of something special when you win a championship, I was definitely proud of that.
"It gives you a sense of accomplishment. It was all memorable playing with my teammates - Larry, Kevin, Danny Ainge, Bill Walton, and Dennis Johnson - against a very formidable opponent in the Houston Rockets with Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson."
Parish has yet to attend a Celtics game in Boston this season. He did, however, attend the Celtics' win at Charlotte April 5, although Garnett, Pierce, and Allen all had that night off. Parish isn't a fan of watching NBA regular-season games, but is definitely watching come playoff time.
"I always feel like the regular-season is a six month test to see who deserves to be in the NBA championship," he said. "You get rid of all the pretenders and the real basketball teams have been left standing."
Parish has been very impressed by the current Big Three's ability to put their egos aside to make a legitimate title run. As for players "4 through 12," he isn't sold on them yet.
"You know that Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Allen are great ballplayers," Parish said. "[Rajon] Rondo, [Kendrick] Perkins and those other guys, how are they going to stand up to the pressure?
"Everything changes when the playoffs start. It's no more up and down. It's pretty much half-court. There is a lot more at stake, more pressure to perform night in and night out. It's going to be a true test of what this ball club is. What kind of production and what kind of consistency are they going to bring to the table each game?
"You know what the Big Three is going to bring. The Big Three is going to be as good as their supporting cast. The same thing applies to the last [Big Three]. We wouldn't have been nearly as good from a won-loss standpoint if the bench didn't get it done."
Parish cited the deaths of Len Bias and Reggie Lewis as the main reasons why the Celtics haven't won a title since 1986. He said a title this season would be a "proud moment" for himself and Boston fans.
"The Boston Celtics have suffered a long time with the not-so-good teams," Parish said. "To be able to say that when the Celtics lose a game today that it means something, that's something that we all can be proud of. Everyone that's a Boston fan can be proud of it now."
Parish also mentioned that he is upset that the late Dennis Johnson, his former teammate, again was not elected to the Hall of Fame. Some of his comments, Parish said, aren't suitable for a family newspaper.
"I thought it was an injustice," Parish said. "What people fail to realize is how great Dennis Johnson was. When he was at Seattle and Phoenix, people forget that. I think people are primarily judging him on his production when he was a Boston Celtic when he was in a lesser role. He wasn't one of the premier players on the team.
"Everything wasn't revolved around him like it was in Phoenix and Seattle. People forget that. Dennis Johnson was one of the best guards to play the game, in my opinion."