RIP Rodney Parker The Latest / Dec 22, 2007 / 2:37 am

Everyone who knows about playground basketball knows who Rodney Parker was. He was a true legend who helped a lot of different people throughout his life. When I worked out a few times with Tim “Headache” Gittens at John Jay College, he was there and actually took a liking to my game as he did with so many others. The point of saying this is not to brag about my game, but that he offered to take me around Brooklyn one summer to play in different tournaments and what not. I’m sorry that I didn’t taken him up on it. I didn’t know him extremely well, but I knew his background. Everyone who crossed Rodney Parker talked very highly of him as a person. I loved kicking it with him because he was such a cool, charismatic, and funny guy. A ball rolled by in the gym one day, and someone asked him for help and to throw it over. He just looked at me and said, “I’m not picking that ball up. I’m a freaken legend.” That made me laugh and it was true. I have great respect for Rodney Parker. If anyone has any stories or memories of him, please put some up. I’m sure many people would like reading them.

The funeral is on Sunday in Brooklyn. I am going to try to make it. He will be missed . . .

18 Responses to “RIP Rodney Parker”

  1. Joseph Vecsey says:

    If anybody has a picture to go with this post…feel free to put it up. Thanks

  2. Bobbito Garcia a.k.a. Kool Bob Love says:

    Rodney Parker goes way back. If you read Rick Telander’s “Heaven Is A Playground” from the ’70s, you’ll see RP’s name mentioned. He also was super instrumental in Smush Parker’s rise from West 4th to All-American camps, Fordham U, and eventually the NBA (see Bounce issue #5).

    Bless,

    bob

  3. Bakar says:

    Damn, I was just reading about him in Wight Martindale Jr.’s book; “Inside the Cage”. Dude must’ve touched a lot of ballplayers’ lives ‘cos he’s been at it from the 70’s to the new millenium.

  4. Shawn Richardson says:

    Rodney Parker was indeed a gift from God to many people! I knew him as a kid growing up( I’m 43). He grew up with my family ( Wilkens Family). As I grew as a teenager, I remember CBS did a special on him at Foster Park, documenting his journey helping young ball players go from the park-to-HS-to college-then some to the pros(NBA & overseas!) I remember him as the ORIGINAL street agent, who NEVER wanted anything in return! He helped people as a way of life. He was a master ticket scalper(MSG sidewalk was his office!)! He had a gift of gab that was supreme , but he used it well. He always shared & gave from his heart. It was great to see Fly Williams , Albert King and the countless others who were touched by this angel of the asphalt playground! We need to take heed how he lived his life of service. We lost a gem, but for those of us who knew him, we truly have been blessed to know him. Thank you for recognizing the BK legend from Bed Stuy! Peace! Shawn Richardson

  5. Torin Archbold says:

    Rodney Parker was my uncle, and I am I guess responding to Shawn Richardson. You are right about Rod, he never asked for anything from anyone, his pride was so powerful it prevented him for asking for help even when he really needed it. When I was a kid I saw every major Broadway show, met all the big NBA and ABA ball players, he knew all of them and they all knew him. He would have pick up games in Foster Park with his ball players and some guys in the Pros. Fly was always there, him and Danny Odoms and Kenny Devoe. My uncle deeds demanded respect but he never seriously asked for it and with the players he was dealing with, with a few exceptions he rarelyrecieved it. If there is or ever has been a truly materially selfless person on earth it was my uncle. His whole existence was doing for others, especially those that seemingly had no where to go and no one to turn to.
    In the begining there was Adidas, Puma, and Converse. When Nike wanted to get their name out there and get some name recognition they came to NY and they came to Rodney. I had everything Nike made, Brooklyn USA was Nike down. I had shoes, bags, hats, headbands, wristbands and anyhing else you could think of, and not just me. If you had anyskill on the court,were a family member, or if he just liked you, you had all the gear you could ever need. I remember my mother used to take pictures of a lot of the ballplayers for Rodney and she was supposed to get some pictures of Sidney Green, but he held out until he got his shoes form Rodney.
    I miss my uncle so very much, I am in Texas and I last saw him when he was here for the Final 4 in San Antonio. I have been in Texas for 25 years, and I liked to think I knew a lot of people but as I am driving through downtown San Antonio I am shocked by the screams of those outside of the hotels, “Rodney, WHATS UP MAN”.
    I see there has been a discussion about the CBS special that was done with Rodney and Fly. I was there that day and I was the kid playing one on one with Fly. I was very intimidated.
    I do have some pictures and I will post some.

  6. Richard (Dick) Kalich says:

    For Rodney:
    My brother, Bob Kalich, the writer, and myself, a writer,
    shared our lives with Rodney Parker for the last fifty
    years. My brother even started Rodney out as as scalper,
    but that’s Bob’s story(I’ll let him tell it). In the old
    MSG, in front of Nedicks or in the great ‘living room’
    entry floor we would talk, argue, laugh and thrill to the
    players of the day. From SiHugo and Gola and Cousy and
    Oscar and Elgin and Tony J and Connie and Reggie and Fly
    and of course, Magic, Larry and Michael. And Jerry and
    the King brothers and Rafer and today’s greats, Lebron
    and Kobe, Rodney would hold court. But there was more than sharing basketball. We shared our lives. There wasn’t one girl friend, one mistress, one wife that Rodney
    didn’t know of ours. Didn’t have an “opinion” on. And
    Rodney’s family too we shared. His children, and long
    standing wife, Myra, the best wife a man could have, and
    sister, Myrna, we knew like family. Rodney was supposed to live
    forever. Never came down with flu, nothing, and always
    filled with enthusiasm and joy. His uplift was that he was a Dreamer. With love. For decades he would search
    for his dreams in the form of a young basketball player.
    Every talent he searched out was a possible Jery and Oscar, a Magic and Larry. He never stopped dreaming and
    loving and HELPING the young players of the day. What
    makes a man great: Jackie Robinson once said: The crieria for greatness is the positive effect we have on
    people. Well, with that as our marking system, Rodney
    was an all-time MVP. A Lifetime Achievement Award Winner.
    I’ve been to dinner with Oscar and Joe Dimaggio; shared
    my thoughts and books with some of the greatest literary
    minds in the world. Have know Billionaires (literally)
    and Beauty Contest Winners. But I’ve never known anyone
    like Rodney. He played the game, his lifetime game, selflessly, like Magic, he gave of himself utterly and completely for the RIGHT REASONS to all and every player
    he could. And nobody, and I mean NOBODY I have ever known
    has helped as many of NY’s kids, and some not from NY, as
    Rodney. My last thoughts are: if only we/I could have
    shared these sentiments with Rodney before his passing.
    But fifty years of friendship says it all. Through laughs
    and dissapointments, arguments and joys, we shared our
    lives. His passing leaves a void in my life I can only
    understand, really understand, now. Dick Kalich

    Myrna,

  7. Tampa says:

    Winston Karim introduced me to Rodney Parker in 1976. Winston gave me a copy of Heaven is a playground and after reading it, I realize Rodney was a legend because he knew everybody and tried to help everybody he even helped my daughter when she needed an entertainment lawyer, Rodney knew one. The last time I saw Rodney it was at a black tie affair 2003 in Queens and I introduce him to my friends, as “The Legendary Rodney Parker” Rodney needs to be in the NYC Basketball Hall of Fame he has my vote. Tampa Ron

  8. Winston Karim says:

    Im 55 years old now and have known Rodney for 40 of those years. He was not a saint but a kinder more caring person you will never meet. He touched many lives especially mine. I have adjusted somewhat to live the rest of my life without him. He will be missed……….

  9. Samantha Parker says:

    Rodney Parker is my father. My amazing dadddy a more beautiful spirit you will never meet. I’m reading this outpouring of love you all share to my son, his grandson Kush, so he can know his legacy. Thank you all so much for sharing your stories it warms my heart and helps to ease the pain. I just can’t beleve he is gone. Please continue to share your expereinces. His life was inspiring. I knew he was great and every chance he got he told me the same about myself. I love who he was and now that he is gone we must all practice his methods… kindness and service. How incredilble and how simple life can be. Thank you Daddy for everything that i am and will be.

  10. Rory says:

    Joe, you should have taken him up on it. Rodney knew basketball–especially guards. I was glad I got to meet a legend I heard about since high school in the 70’s

  11. Thomas Boothe says:

    Hoop world lost a true Basketball junkie. I am 48 years old and I grew up playing serious hoops in Foster park Flatbush section of Brookly. Rodney was just getting started and he put our Poark on the Basketball map.
    I remeber those summer days when Rodney would bring ABA and NBA stare to the park. And they would have some serious pick up games. Rodney Parker introduce Foster Park to a 17 year old kid name FLY ( James Fly Williams)
    Rodney would have me play one on one against Kenny Devoe and Billy williams two strong individulas that left both the real world and the basketball to soon. Rodney may you rest in peace and thanks for giving my dad thos e excellent discounts for Knick games when Clyde and Earl where rocking the back court. Peace.

  12. Joseph Vecsey says:

    Thanks to everyone who responded and keep it coming for Rodney.

  13. Robert Kalich says:

    I was twenty yards from the “Old Garden”? going to a college game. One of the many college basketball doubleheaders that were played at Madison Square long ago. I was a sophomore at NYU and had an extra ticket. As I approached the Nedick’s Eatery adjacent to the arena there was Rodney Parker with a shoebox shining shoes. The first thing I noticed was that he was smiling, sort of laughing as he pronounced opinions on women and the players of the game.

    I listened to him for a while. If you know Parker, they were mostly syllogisms that he was espousing. It was Rodney’s court outside the “Old Garden” or as he would have said it, “I give the best shine in New York City and I also know the game.” I was intrigued at once by this emaciated, tattered clothes patios speaking teenager from Brooklyn. For that reason I stayed out in the bitter cold street listening to him.  “Cousy’s okay but he don’t play no defense. Mikan can’t run the court.”? He had a bad word for just about all the white players in the NBA and of course in those days that was just about every player outside of I think Chuck Cooper, Woody Saulsberry, Earl Lloyd, and perhaps Al Greer and Sweetwater Clifton. But the league was still in its infancy and Rodney made sure that you were aware that the great players of tomorrow would be African American. My friend was always like that. Conscious of what was wrong in every social crevice and optimistic that change would be forthcoming. I was fascinated by this street-smart kid. I stayed on 50th Street and Eighth Avenue almost up to game time. Before I entered the Garden I remembered I had this extra ticket and I offered it to Rodney. He grabbed it and said he would see me later. It never happened. The following week I attended another NYU doubleheader, (or it might have been St. Johns with Tony Jackson and Alan Seiden or Manhattan college with Jerry Paulsen and Lombardi). Whatever, I spotted Parker outside the garden entrance scalping tickets. When he saw me he smiled. And did I mention Rodney could light up a room with a smile. “You started me off on a new profession,”? he said, “I am a ticket engineer now. I have started making serious money. Ninety dollars so far this week.” And that is just about how our 52-year friendship began.

    Over the years we saw each other at least twice a week, sometimes three or four times depending on our schedules. In one-way or another Rodney has always been part of my life: hitting on all of my casual dates, my many live in girl friends, even my first wife. Until Rodney was into his late forties or early fifties he was always “hitting”?. And then both of us got older and things quieted down. In our late twenties and thirties we shared time with our wives and children as well. Doing all of the normal things. Of course Rodney was never Mr. Normal. But he was always Rodney. And that was more than enough. One thing very few people know about Rodney is that he was a great friend. When my wife and I divorced and I was down it was Rodney who walked the streets with me until four in the morning. And he did this for months. I needed a friend to talk to and cry to and that friend was Rodney Parker. For months I was in a deep depression and it was my friend Parker who was always there. And I mean always. We went to Chinese dinners; I dragged him to the Broadway Theater, and even the New York Philharmonic. Until Rodney’s wife Myra could not take his infidelities any longer, she would be with us much of the time. Myra dressed Rodney up in those days in the most beautiful clothes a person could tailor. Myra also did the grooming of his Afro during those years and the two of them had beautiful sky high Afro’s. My mother would feed Rodney on occasion and this I can tell you for sure. No one served more good food. Rodney would clean his plate and ask for more and my mom loved that. 

    When Rodney’s wife finally could not take his philandering any longer I told her the truth. ”Myra, the one redeeming quality Rodney has is that he never stops helping kids.” ? Myra looked at me understanding that it was that wonderful quality that made him special. But it did not make for marital bliss and soon both Rodney and myself were out on our own. To the year of his death Rodney would help kids with his last dollar. He would never take a dollar back from any one of his kids. He promoted whatever coach he could. Always trying to get his kids into schools. He lectured all of them to stay off drugs. Not drink. He preached all of the time. “I saw more O.d.’s when I was your age…”? Was one of his favorite phrases. He hated to see kids wasted and die young. I mean he could not stand it. He would only go to movies that had romantic or feel good endings. The same with the theater. If I took him to a film or Broadway show that was violent he either walked out or cursed me for taking him. He had seen enough violence in his youth for a lifetime. He only wanted to help kids change their lives for the better. Make kids lives better. You people reading this know some of the hoop stars he helped. In the NBA right now to name a couple are Smush Parker and Rafer Alston. And there are one or two hundred more boys he helped through the years. But to name a list is silly. There were so many. I would suggest you write your own pieces on my legendary friend. Rodney helped more boys in this city than anyone. For years I have voted for him to get some kind of recognition from the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame. And each year that I get my ballot I’ll keep suggesting that Rodney Parker get into this hallowed hall. He deserves it. He saved lives. Boys’ lives. He did it in a way that is old fashioned. He gave of himself. His own time, his own dollars, twenty-four seven he gave. He got boys into high schools, community colleges, junior colleges, division one and division two programs, even to the NBA. Rodney loved the game of basketball. What he loved even more were the kids that played the game. The Playgrounds were his office. His pontificating or promoting never stopped “?My kid is better than Kobe. He’s another Connie Hawkins. And “O” could never do all the things my kids can do…”? He never stopped promoting.

    At the end Rodney had quite a network of agents, scouts, coaches, community leaders and players who listened to his every word. I once listened to him tell the “Big O”? that he could not play in the league today. But when Oscar left the room Rodney smiled, and admitted to me that Robertson was the greatest player in the game’s history. I am saying this here because, well, Oscar always made a face when Rodney BS’d him. He did not know Rodney like I do. He was always out there. But inside he was pure. I loved the guy. He was as close to me as a friend could get. And I will miss him for the rest of my life. Whenever my doorman or deskman said “Can I send Mr. Parker up to your apartment?” I always said “No”, but we always knew it was “YES!”?

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  14. Joseph Vecsey says:

    Everyone who wrote something about Rodney and knows him, I would like to get your email information. I will be doing a big magazine article on him and if I could get some interviews and more stories, that would be great. I really want to do it. Thank you to everyone for responding at length. Thank you to our latest, Robert Kalich.

  15. Robert Kalich says:

    Thanks Joseph for organizing this. My email is bob@bob.kalich.com or phone #212-974-9552. Please contact me would be glad to help in anyway. Have plenty of photos…unable to post.
    Bob

  16. JosephVecsey says:

    I will be contacting you. Thanks again

  17. Jill Archbold says:

    Jill Archbold – Rodney Parker’s Sister Says

    When I think of Rodney in my childhood I think of him bent over that old, gray shoe shine box shining shoes in front of the Cozy bar on Pitkin Avenue and Elton Street in the East New York section of Brooklyn. Rodney always seemed to have money because some of the shoes he shined were those of gangsters and they always paid him well. In fact, some people, having special affairs to go to, would send over their shoes to have Rodney shine them at the house.
    I was the youngest of our mother’s five children. We didn’t have much food and I remember that Rodney used to steal bottles of milk and donuts so we could have breakfast. I was always a little in awe of my brother. He seemed to flow through any situation with humor and confidence.
    The fact that Rodney was always on the go was one of the factors that I think hastened his death. From childhood I only remember Rodney as leaving in the morning and coming back at night. I hardly ever saw him during the day. He had to always be doing something and in the mix. The fact that his body could not keep up with his desires is something that Rodney disregarded.
    One of the most meaningful things my brother said to me was a few months before he died. He had had an idea about a script he told me about several years ago. Last year my sister, Myrna, mentioned it (Rodney was ill then and she was nursing him back to health) and I told her I had, in fact, written the script. She told me to mail it to her. Rodney and my sister Myrna read it together. He enjoyed it. That makes me feel good. I called it “The Ghost of Central Park”. It is about the statues coming alive on All Hollows Eve. (His Idea) My brother was surprised at how much he liked the script and how well it was written. He asked me if I could always write like that. I said that there was a teacher in Franklin K. Lane High School that would run outside of the school as I was leaving to try to convince me to join her after school writing class. I told Rodney that I thought she was crazy. Then Rodney said, “You never had anyone to encourage you or push you”. I remained silent. It was the first time Rodney had said anything to me that made me realize how deeply he could understand.
    Our mother died ten years ago. I picked up a scarf she worn and could still smell the aroma of her Brooklyn apartment. It lingers still to give me a piece of my mother’s existence. Rodney is very different. A piece of all who knew him as been left to move through their lives as they wonder what it is inside that makes them feel that some feat cannot be fully acknowledged because something intangible is missing. That intangible is Rodney’s acknowledgement.
    The last time I saw Rodney was in 2004 when he came to Texas for a San Antonio basketball game. While he was here he overwhelmed the kids with games that involved guessing the numbers on dollar bills and giving the bills to the ones who got it right. He also bought the DVD Pride and Prejudice. He loved Darcy and thought he was great. Now that I think about it – Rodney’s father was the bastard son of an English Lord and I wonder if my sister Francine’s obsession with her English heritage did affect Rodney after all.
    People wonder what made Rodney tick. Why he did so much and got so little in return. I think it was helping young men to realize a promise not missed.
    When I bought my Chevy, Nova. I became destined to become Rodney’s Chauffer. In fact I drove Rodney and Rick Telander to “5 Star Camp” in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania to see a ballplayer. (Poodle or Puddle?) I don’t remember. All I remember vividly is that it was freezing cold and that what Rodney had originally told me wasn’t that far caused me to wonder just how far the Pocono’s are from Brooklyn.
    What always astonished me about Rodney is how well he knew the roads for someone, who, at that time, didn’t have a car. But… I passed many an exit as Rodney yelled “Turn here!” No matter how many times I told Rodney to warn me of an upcoming exit he never changed and I continued to pass the exits and then turn back around.
    I drove Rodney and Fly Williams to Mount Vernon, NY as the fans screamed at Fly “Let’s see you fly, man.” Fly got upset. He seemed to let people get to him.
    I recall having to get Lennie Wilkins and Father Manning to help get Rodney out of jail.
    Rodney would also have me take pictures of basketball players. Some of them were for Nike. Once, when we were in Harlem (it might have been one of the Rucker’s) when someone yelled gun. I was under a hoop shooting pictures as a mass of people headed out of the game. I marveled at how quickly people can exit a place with no encouragement other than the word “gun”.
    I distinctly remember when Edwin Newman did a feature on Rodney with Harry Edwards at Foster Park. I remember that Rodney was intimidated by Edwards because Edwards was “Educated” and Rodney didn’t want to look bad. He as much as asked Edwards not to make him look bad. I listened to Edwards and commented to my son that he sounded like a Socialist. One of the young men in the production team of the show replied, “A communist”. I glanced at him as we shared a moment. Rodney was impressed with Edwards but realized that all he wanted was to diss Rodney because of the way he was helping the kids. Edwards wanted the government to be responsible. Anyone have a copy of that show? “The Edwin Newman Show”, circa early seventies.
    Nike was great to the kids in Brooklyn. I know. I had shipments of sneakers, warmup suits and other street kid cool stuff in the middle of my living room on Ocean Parkway for Rodney’s kids. I had also received late night, or more correctly early morning, calls from Nike when they couldn’t get Rodney on the phone. Brooklyn U.S.A was Nike sponsored. I still have some transparencies of Rodney at one of their events.
    “This is Rodney. Leave a message, I’ll get back to ya”. I called his cell on January 16, 2008. He’d been dead for a month. His voice sounded a little high pitched. Not like he usually sounded. It was strange to call his number and still hear him. The box was filled and could not take messages… I guess he’ll never get back to me.

  18. michael brown says:

    The first thing my head coach said to me as he sent me off on my very first recruiting mission to N.Y.C. was to find Rodney Parker and “follow him anywhere” and “listen to everything he says”.The head coach had been an assistant at Columbia Univ. and knew Rodney because of course, Rodney had sent Jim McMillan to Colunbia in the late 60’s.Rodney always told me that this was one of his greatest accomplishments.To send a kid from Bed Sty to an Ivy League school rather than any of the other schools that he had the option to attend, because Rodney recognized the value of an Ivy League education.
    I didn’t actually meet Rodney on that first recruiting trip but eventually I did meet him and we became fast friends.He took me under his wing and decided to help me get players for the school I was recruiting for.The first “super”that he got me involved with was Gordon Malone a 6″10′ kid from Bed Sty. Rodney told his mother that her son needed to go to West Virginia with me. For the next 15 years of college coaching,I did exactly what my head coach back then told me to do,I followed Rodney anywhere and I listened to everything he said.
    When I needed Rodney to fly to West Virginia to help me sign three players from Brooklyn,he gave up working a Jets game to come and help me.
    When I left WVU and took the job at Hunter College,Rodney sent me my best player,George”Pop”Brown a transfer from the U.of Alabama.
    When I got the call a month ago that Rodney had died,I wasn’t surprised.I had been in touch with him last summer but it was only on the phone.Through the years I had enjoyed so much hanging out with him that I asked him to meet me for coffee or to go to dinner.He declined all invitations.I knew, even though I didn’t or wouldn’t want to believe ,that somethng was wrong.In the 1990’s when we both lived on the Upper West Side,he would call me all the time to meet for lunch,coffee, whatever.So for him to decline to get together to hold court like he loved to do,was an ominous sign.
    I want you all to know that our last conversations were about Smuch Parker and about what would turn out to be the last player that Rodney had as one of “his kids” that he wanted me to place in college for him.Yes,even as a sick man who had become somewhat recluse, he was STILL helping kids.
    It took us awhile to get this kid in school ,in that both Rodney and I didn’t have the contacts that we once did,but I senced the urgency in his voice and I took on the task as if I were back recruiting as a Division one assistant again.In retrospect, Rodney must have known that this kid might be the last one.When we got him in school, the kid called Rodney from Texas,in school,in the dorms,off the streets of N.Y.There was a sence of accomplishment in Rodney’s voice that you had to know him to understand.He was proud of what we had done and he was proud of himself.He knew what his calling was and he reveled in performing it.He knew that he had helped another life.
    We also discussed Smuch….Rodney’s troubled protoge.
    One day after an afternoon at the West 4th St. courts,Rodney took me down to the corner of Houston and Bleeker Streets.He then points up to a billboard on top of a building.It is an ad for Nautica clothes and the handsome baby faced kid on the billboard was a 15 year old Smuch Parker.I feel so honored to tell you that Rodney sent Smuch ,his most prized discovery,to Fordham,with me because he trusted me and knew I would do right by him.I know now how much Rodney liked and respected me based on the fact that he sent Smuch to the school that I was representing at the time.
    Rodney loved Smuch and Smuch if you ever read this,I implore you to get your act together and become the player and person that Rodney thought you could be.That is all he would want from you…..to fulfill your promise as a person and as a player.That’s all he wanted from anyone he helped.
    The last time that I spent any real time with Rodney was when I was the head coach at John Jay College.I would open the gym during the afternoon for runs with the professional players who were in town for the summer.One afternoon I got to the gym and there were 10 high school kids there attempting to get in the gym.Enraged I asked them what they were doing and told them that the gym was for pro players only.The responce I got was that Rodney Parker told them to come and work on their games.When I confronted Rodney on it, he gave me that grin of his and said”where else could I tell them to go?”I had to let them in…for the entire summer…every day,because of Rodney.

    Rodney Parker was a unique individual.He was a person that I shall never ever forget.He was no angel and he certainly had his faults.Conversly though if you knew him and he considered you a friend,you were his friend for life and he considered that a special bond.Rodney knew that I thought that Kareem Abdul Jabbar was the greatest player of all time .From our many discussions, he knew how much I respected Jabbar.One summer, Rodney calls me and tells me to meet him at L.I.U.that night.I get there and a U.S.B.L.game is going on and Kareem is coaching the visiting team.At the conclusion of the game Rodney tells me to wait next to him.All of a sudden Jabbar leaves a group of friends and makes a beeline for ….Rodney Parker !!I was in shock.Here was the person who I considered the best player ever and he was making a bee line to pay his respects to Rodney.Of course Rodney took it all in stride as Kareem was showing Rodney the respect that Jabbar felt he deserved.When Rodney introduced me to him,Jabbar showed me great respect, not because of who I was but because being introduced by Rodney in Jabbar’s eye’s meant something to him.
    Too often when someone dies it is said that the person will be missed.The truth of the matter is that shortly after they are gone,people forget.Life goes on.Life will go on with all of us who knew Rodney Parker also.I can tell you one thing though,every time I go past the West 4th Street courts a smile will come to my face.Every year when I go to the U.S. Open Tennis tournament,a smile will come to my face.Rodney Parker will be missed,by me and by countless others and most unfortunatly by the present and future generations of New York City kids who never got a chance to know this incredible human being.
    Rest in peace Rodney…Heaven is indeed a playground !!
    Your Friend,
    Michael Brown

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