Praying for Parks

Joaquin Henson [ Source: Philippine Star ] - March 06, 2013

Seven-time PBA Best Import awardee Bobby Parks has lost at least 50 pounds in his fierce battle against lung cancer but isn’t giving up hope of recovering. He’s been confined at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Global City since Jan. 31. Parks is now in a private room after a long stay in the Intensive Care Unit.

Parks’ wife Jasmine has been at his side throughout the ordeal. There are plans to move Parks out of St. Luke’s and into his home as soon as his family is able to procure a hospital bed. A philanthropic taipan has offered to pay for Parks’ medical bills while a sports official from a large conglomerate said he will try to get a bed from the hospital which his family owns.  The outpouring of support for Parks is heartwarming. A big businessman offered to fly Parks to Singapore for specialized cancer treatment only at the moment, the former Memphis State star is unable to travel.

Parks, 51, was initially diagnosed to be afflicted with laryngeal cancer a few years back but won that battle. The cancer, however, recurred in the lungs and now, Parks is in for a tougher fight.

In his hospital bed, Parks is fed through a tube in his nose and still unable to speak. But there are positive signs of recovery. Now, he is able to sit up for about an hour in a chair. He is conscious and recognizes his visitors. His legs and feet are swollen in an edema condition. Last Sunday night, Parks watched the PBA contest between Rain Or Shine and Barangay Ginebra from his bed and appeared to be fully aware of what went on in the game. I visited Parks at that time and drew a smile when I promised to bring over his picture in an Atlanta Hawks uniform I stumbled on in a book entitled “Inside Basketball: From the Playgrounds to the NBA” by Mike Decourcy.

Parks never got to play in the NBA regular season but suited up for Atlanta in the 1984-85 preseason. He was the Hawks’ third round pick in the 1984 draft. In the picture, Parks is shown defending New York Knicks’ star Bernard King with Hawks teammates Glenn (Doc) Rivers and Stewart Granger. Parks played as an import in France before landing in the PBA with San Miguel Beer in 1987. He wound up seeing action in 13 PBA seasons, compiling 8,955 points in 221 games for a 40.5 clip. Parks is one of only five imports to average at least 40 a game in the PBA. The others are Billy Ray Bates, Lew Massey, Larry McNeill and Norman Black.

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