LOS ANGELES » Los Angeles Clippers interim chief executive Dick Parsons on Thursday clarified a recent report about whether he played varsity basketball at the University of Hawaii.
"Dick played on the freshman team at the University of Hawaii in 1964-65," Parsons said in a statement released by his spokesperson, Ed Adler. "He never said that he played varsity, that he lettered, or that he was a good player."
Parsons was forced to respond to questions about his basketball history after the web site Deadspin.com suggested he didn’t play college basketball.
When Parsons was hired by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to run the Clippers, after team President Andy Roeser took an indefinite leave of absence, the league’s news release stated that Parsons had played basketball at Hawaii.
Bill Robinson said Thursday he was a teammate of Parsons on that 1964-65 freshman team at Hawaii. Robinson, 67, an attorney who works in Los Angeles for the firm Nixon Peabody and is also a retired naval officer, was amused by the Deadspin story.
"The bottom line is Dick and I did play on the freshman team together in 1964 and 65 and neither one of us started," Robinson said in a telephone interview. "But I think both of us got a fair amount of playing time off the bench. Suggestions to the contrary are false."
A spokesperson from the University of Hawaii’s sports department said the school’s record-keeping from the 1960s was missing information about team rosters during those years.
"But from what we do have, we don’t have anything on him (Parsons) playing on the varsity team," said Derek Inouchi, the media relations director for Hawaii. "Now it is unfair to say, ‘He was on the freshman team or he wasn’t on the team,’ because we just don’t have the rosters to say whether he was or wasn’t."
The NBA brought in Parsons after Clippers owner Donald Sterling made disparaging comments about blacks that led to the league banning Sterling for life, fining him $2.5 million and seeking to oust him as owner.
Parsons, 66, is the former chairman of Citigroup and the former chief executive of Time Warner.