It has long been my position that celebrities and athletes alike are not role models. During the 1980s any sports fan had to love to watch the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics rivalry. Those two teams played for the championship of the National Basketball Association five times during the decade, with the Lakers winning three.
While most people think of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, and rightly so since these two also competed for the 1979 NCAA basketball championship, with Magic’s Michigan State Spartans defeating Bird’s Indiana State Sycamores in the final, the two centers deserve some recognition.
When I say deserve recognition, I mean for their use of illegal drugs. Few will deny that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the greats ever to play the game. His patented sky hook still has never been duplicated. Robert “The Chief” Parish was a stalwart defensively and anchored the front-court of the Celtics.
Perhaps The Chief could say his bust for marijuana was “medicinal.” He was the oldest player in the NBA when he was arrested for possession in February, 1993. The 39-year-old was caught with the drug in his home as well as in a mail-delivered packager to him. Parish was nailed by a drug sniffing dog used by FedEx.
Kareem definitely claims his marijuana busts (yes plural) were to help him control nausea and migraines. He was first busted in 1998 in the Toronto Airport with possession and two years later for driving under the influence of marijuana in Los Angeles.
Two basketball stars from one of the great all-time sports rivalries seem to have more than hoops in common. Perhaps both could use a good drug awareness class and then move on to a sober life.