THE PBA lost a legend too soon when Bobby Parks Sr. passed away on Saturday afternoon at the San Juan De Dios Hospital due to a lingering illness. Confined for at least the past month due to complications brought about by pneumonia, Parks also had a previous bout with laryngeal cancer which reportedly eventually developed into lung cancer.
He was only 51 years old.
The 6-foot-3 Parks was arguably the greatest import to have played in the PBA. He won a league record seven Best Import awards from 1987 to 1992 and played in the league until 1999. In PBA history, no other import has won more than two Best Import honors.
The former Memphis State star was a third-round, 58th overall pick of the Atlanta Hawks in the 1984 NBA draft where Hakeem Olajuwon was selected first by the Houston Rockets and Michael Jordan was chosen by the Chicago Bulls at No. 3. (Portland’s Sam Bowie was No. 2).
Parks was recruited to play in the 1987 PBA Reinforced (Third) Conference by San Miguel Beer head coach Norman Black, leading his team to a first championship right in his first conference in the league en route to winning his first of seven Best Import awards.
For the next 12 seasons, he would go on to play for Shell until 1999, although he would only be making cameo appearances in his final three seasons, playing only a total of six games as a replacement for the team’s imports at the end of the conference.
Parks’ averages in his 13-year PBA career are 40.5 points, 15.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.5 shotblocks in a total of 221 games.
He was one of only three imports to have scored at least 8,000 points in the PBA, the other two being Black and Alaska’s Sean Chambers. His 40.5-point scoring average ranks fourth all-time among imports who scored at least 4,000.
Parks’ best season was in 1989 when he normed 52.6 ppg in 23 games for Shell in the Open Conference while also averaging 17.1 rebounds a game. It was the eighth all-time best scoring average in PBA history.
Below are his career stats:
Rest in peace, Bobby, and thanks for the memories.