You see the headline. Yeah, it’s weird, we know. The first few Random Pros have been an All-Star at some point in their careers. And, yeah, we know, the NBA is currently in a lockout. It’s the dog days of summer. Major League Baseball is enjoying pennant races. The NFL is about to start its preseason. Golf is going on. We think tennis is, too, but we’re not sure.
Backstory: One of our Throwback Attack writers was at a Wahoo’s Fish Taco in Irvine a few years back. (For those that aren’t in the know, Wahoo’s is a
California-based quasi-Mexican restaurant … place that three brothers “combined their love of surf and food to create a restaurant with an eclectic Mexican/Brazilian/Asian menu and a Hawaiian north-shore vibe” according to their website.)
Anyhow, as we were waiting for our order – the Maui Bowl, if you must know – in walks a tattooed man, standing closer to 7-feet than he was to 6-feet. He has two kids with him and he’s wearing jean shorts and a Los Angeles Clippers jersey. Since we had seen plenty of tatted-up dudes in Wahoo’s before, not to mention in Orange County and the Inland Empire – we think nothing of it.
(Although Parks wasn’t always a tatted-up weirdo. See image, below)
Until the very tall man turns so we get a glimpse of the back of his Clippers jersey. Now, mind you, this was around the time that Elton Brand was coming into his own, the team was on the verge of being relevant, Cuttino Mobley and Sam Cassell had just signed contracts, so maybe this cat was just on the Clippers bandwagon and showing it off. No problem.
On the back of the jersey is a giant 44 and the name “Parks” A quick check of the brain’s Rolodex reveals that, indeed, Cherokee Parks played for the Clippers in two separate stints during the 2000-01 and 2002-03 seasons. No stinking way. Who buys a Cherokee Parks jersey? Even though the Clippers are, and have been, terrible, there is no chance the gift shop even sells Cherokee Parks jerseys. They can’t stoop that low, can they?
It turns out, no they can not. Upon further review, the man in the Cherokee Parks jersey is none other than Cherokee Parks himself!
(Quick tangent: This is not the first time this has happened in the lives of Throwback Attack members. Once one of us ran in to Danny Glover checking into a New York City hotel at 3 a.m. – yes, we were coming in from a bar – and Mr. Glover was wearing a T-shirt with his own picture on it from a fundraising event and along the top it said “A Night With Danny Glover.” So, there stands Danny Glover, he of the Lethal Weapon fame, wearing a T-shirt with his own picture on it!)
Cherokee Parks entered the NBA with so much promise, but that was because he was coming from the Duke factory. Should we be surprised that his career didn’t pan out? (Although he did play for nine years in The Association.) There are so many examples of heralded players coming from Duke who stink in the NBA – Trajan Langdon, William Avery, Roshown McLeod, Christian Laettner – that we shouldn’t be surprised that Parks wasn’t a very good pro. But his size – 6-foot-11 – kept him around.
It’s the same reason 7-foot-1 Robert Swift (left) was drafted No. 12 overall one year. Turns out they were better at getting tattoos than playing basketball.
Funny thing is, Parks was taken No. 12 overall in 1995. Swift was No. 12 in 2004.
So, there you have it – a reason why Cherokee Parks is our Random Pro of the Week. How’s that for random?
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