By Dylan Huber
When one hears the name “William Henry Parker III” announced, they might imagine themselves at a royal gala, or possibly at a knight’s castle. Although that setting may suit the name well, I can assure you that the only court that you will find this William Henry Parker III at is your local basketball court.
Better known by his nickname, Smush, Parker was a professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association from 2002 to 2008. His most well-known run was his 2005 to 2007 stint with the Los Angeles Lakers, in which he was their starting point guard and helped the team reach the playoffs in both years.
You might be asking yourself: why is Parker comparable to an all-time great such as Allen Iverson? I would argue that there are two main facets in his game that allude to Iverson’s.
First, would be Parker’s versatility as a point guard and shooting guard. Parker was able to knock a shot down from anywhere on the court as well as find the open man. Also, despite his shorter stature at six-foot-four-inches, he had a great ability and athleticism to throw down a monster slam dunk. Parker also was able to find the open player and set up an assist.
The other way that the two relate are in their tendencies to become embroiled in controversy. Parker had a famous rivalry with his hall-of-fame teammate, Kobe Bryant. Bryant, simply put, did not like Parker. He thought of Parker as a sub-par basketball player. This might be one of the reasons that Parker has a stain on his career, as well as a reason why his career was so short.
Parker moved on from the NBA in the 2008 offseason and jumped from team to team around the globe. According to Parker, he wasn’t playing in the safest arenas. During a game in Greece, a fan brought a flare to a game and shot it onto the court. Parker dodged the flare, and all of the fans were forced to leave the arena. The players finished the game with no one in the stands.
As Parker is growing older, and his playing days are behind him, he is looking to do what many NBA players do not. Instead of becoming a coach, a commonplace amongst former players, Parker is taking a shot at being a referee. Maybe we will get to enjoy seeing Parker run up and down an NBA court once again, but this time with a whistle in hand, sooner rather than later.
Maybe I didn’t convince you that Parker on-par with an all-timer such as Iverson. If I am being honest with myself, I know he is not. Despite this fact, I’d love for you to remember Parker in a new light. Even if he isn’t royalty or an NBA superstar, William Henry Parker III will always be a special guy in my eyes.
As a new NBA season leaps into action tonight, I urge you to look for the next generation’s “Smush.”