Boston big man legend Robert Parish on how yoga helped save his NBA career
With a Hall of Fame NBA career spanning more than two decades, iconic Boston Celtics big man Robert Parish extended the years of his legendary playing career through what were, at that time in the history of the league, quite unorthodox methods.
Improving his diet and flexibility through eating well and doing yoga — now a staple of athletes in the Association — the Centenary College alum added years to his time in the league, even winning a fourth title with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls after his time in Boston had come to an end in the early 1990s.
Speaking in an interview with the “Players Own Voice” podcast, Parish explained how it all started for him regarding said unorthodox methods.
“The Warriors at the time had a wife and husband nutritional team,’ said Chief of the team that had drafted him. “And they were talking about the benefits and rewards of nutrition.”
“Also with stretching and weight training and staying away from the sugar. I used to have a wicked sweet tooth — Haagen-Dazs ice cream, I used to kill that. And they are always saying that (sugar) is the Achilles heel of any athlete.”
“So it took me a while to adopt that philosophy,” explained the Boston legend. “But that’s the genesis of my transition to, ‘Like, whatever — I don’t need to do that. I’m young enough, I can bounce back’. And I never was a big stretcher, ever, because I felt like I didn’t need it.”
“But after listening to them — and I’ll never forget it — my first yoga class that I went to, I was so embarrassed. There were older women that could touch to their toes and I could not. I’m like, ‘I’m a pro athlete. How could I not touch my toes?’ And these are weekend athletes. These are civilian, weekend athletes. They were touching toes and doing the splits and all of that. And I was struggling just to grab my shins.”
“That was a turning point for me,” he added. “The light went on. You need to change about how you go about preparing your body for what you do for a living in turn.”
“I think the one reason why I experienced longevity in the game was stretching,” shared Parish. “I’ll never forget this, we were playing the Dallas Mavericks when I was with the Celtics and I hit a wet spot at the top of the key and did a split.”
“Had I not been taking yoga and stretching, taking it serious, … our team doctor and the Mavericks’ doctor said my career would have been over. I would have torn all my groin area, I just would have just messed all that up.”
Given the benefits both in his present and in extending the life of his NBA career, it’s no wonder that the Celtics center’s unorthodox methods caught on in the league in a big way.
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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire
Source: Yahoo Sports