MANILA, Philippines – Bobby Parks belonged to a different breed of PBA imports and it is unlikely that local basketball fans will get to see someone like him again.
He came from a time when PBA reinforcements were expected to achieve near superhuman feats like hitting 40 points or more per game and grabbing at least 20 rebounds per outing.
Off the court, they were among the nicest characters around.
“That was an era when we had gentleman players on and off the court. [Players like] Bobby Parks, Sean Chambers, Norman Black, Andy Fields. Today it's another story,” said Ronnie Nathanielsz on Wednesday’s episode of ANC’s Hardball.
Nathanielsz said that although Parks did most of the scoring for his team, he said the late PBA import was selfless when it comes to sharing his love for the game.
Parks helped develop the likes of Benjie Paras and Ronnie Magsanoc when he played for Formula Shell in the late 1980’s to the late 1990’s.
“You know what Bobby told me,” said Nathanielsz. “’The nicest thing about my journey here [in the Philippines] is I was able to help young Filipino players develop, taught them to have confidence, taught them the name of the game... and I also taught them to be better citizens.'”
“In other words, all the virtues that he had, he transferred to Filipino players.”
Basketball blogger Charlie Cuna, for his part, said Parks was arguably one of the best, if not the best import in the history of the PBA.
The 6’3” American normed 40.5 points, 15.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.5 blocks in his 13-year PBA career.
“He won seven best import awards with amazing statistics in some of those conferences... you could say he's number one,” said Cuna.
“There's an argument that says he's number one, I think he's probably the best import who's played here because of the longevity and the quality, the way he was producing,” he added.
Parks recently passed away after a long battle with laryngeal cancer. He was 51.
The former PBA import is the father of national University’s Bobby Ray Jr., current UAAP Most Valuable Player.
"I seriously doubt, honestly, that we'd get another Bobby Parks," said Nathanielsz.
"When you look at it in the totality, not just the skills as a player, but his character... his decency, i mean you don't see that class anymore."