Parsons declares himself of sound body and mind at midway point of his 4-year deal

By Updated: September 24, 2018 8:54 PM CT | Published: September 24, 2018 4:20 PM CT

Chandler Parsons’ most recent trip out of the country was not to Cancun, Mexico. Remember that hot-take social media moment, Parsons and his crew sporting “Chancun” caps for their All-Star break vacation and Grizzlies fans losing their minds?

Or how about the kid that convinced Parsons to stop for a selfie video. At which point said kid, in little more than a whisper, and while grinning and right next to Parsons, comes out with this: “Yeah, say I ruined the Grizz season, baby.”

On Monday, Sept. 24, the Grizzlies held their annual Media Day – the third one since Parsons signed the richest free agent contract in team history at four years and $94.4 million. The ROI has been disappointing to say the least with Parsons having played in just 70 of a possible 164 regular season games through the first two years of the contract.

Or as Parsons himself said Monday: “Let’s face it, the last two years have gone horribly.”

The knee issues, which often made Parsons unavailable and sometimes compromised him and the team when he was on the court, were nothing he brought on himself. His reaction to unhappy fans, who were not shy about booing him, was less about his knees and more about Parsons putting his size 15 shoe in his mouth.

“I signed a big contract and high expectations come with the job,” he said. “I mishandled a few things and put off this aura about myself that people would see on social media and people would see out in the public eye that truly didn’t reflect how I felt.”

Meaning, that to see via Instagram that Parsons was out to dinner with friends or on a date equated to him not caring the team had lost a game two hours earlier. Which he says was never true.

“I just want people to understand who I am and, yeah, I like to have fun and I’m very outgoing,” he said. “I want to be involved in the community and do things like that. But I almost felt like I was underperforming so much last year, that I didn’t do those things.

“And then I was cold to fans and there was the kid that did the video or whatever. So, after that, the next kid that came up, '(Screw) this guy. He’s just gonna talk (crap) the next day on Twitter.' I was bitter and I was scorned.

“I was like a hardened person and that’s not me. I’m so easygoing, I’m so fun.”

Parsons says all of this in the most California-cool kind of way. Even as he says he was bitter, he does not sound bitter. He sounds like anybody who went through a rough time, albeit a man also known to keep the company of supermodels.

Suffice to say, if you were in Los Angeles and CP invited you to a party, you would go. And you would probably get around to asking if he had any of those old “Chancun” caps laying around.

But this is also undeniable: Chandler Parsons is bumping 30 and entering his eighth NBA season. In two seasons here, he has averaged 7.1 points and shot 35.5 percent from 3-point range. That’s well below his career averages of 13.1 points and 37.7 percent from deep.

“You mature, man. The things I did when I was 23 and 24, going out and drinking the night before games, you can’t do that anymore. I know I can’t. Eating the right things, getting the right amount of sleep … especially with injuries, you just learn as the course of your career goes on and you’ve got to put yourself in the best situation."
Chandler Parsons

He concedes he is not as quick as he once was. Nor as agile.

“I’m 29 with three knee surgeries,” he said.

Which brings us to his most recent international trip. He went to Germany for a second round of Regenokine injections in both knees.

“Similar to a PRP (platelet-rich plasma),” said Parsons. “Basically, it takes away all inflammation. Kobe, these guys used to swear by it. At this point in my career, I’ll try anything.”

Beyond that, Parsons said he began Olympic weightlifting this summer to strengthen his base and relieve pressure on his knees. He has been playing five-on-five, doing all the drills, and said he is “full-go” for the start of training camp Tuesday and that he even could play back-to-back games this week if they were in front of him.

Sound body, he says, and sound mind.

“You mature, man. The things I did when I was 23 and 24, going out and drinking the night before games, you can’t do that anymore. I know I can’t,” Parsons said. “Eating the right things, getting the right amount of sleep … especially with injuries, you just learn as the course of your career goes on and you’ve got to put yourself in the best situation.

“Like I found yoga this summer. With everything that’s went on the last two years, I needed to find an area where I can meditate and spiritually and mentally find myself. And find a happy place to have success on the court. Things like that, I’d laugh at when I was 22 years old.”

So, no minutes’ restrictions. No treating Chandler like he’s made of porcelain.

“We’re on the latter part of the contract now,” he said. “It’s time to let me rock.”

To which Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff says, “If he’s playing at the level we know he can play at when he’s healthy, then there’s no reason not to let him rock.”

Point guard Mike Conley believes Parsons can, and will, be a part of the Grizzlies’ success. He just needs to be healthy enough to play regularly.

“We don’t necessarily need the 18- to 19-point a game Chandler Parsons that was in Houston or Dallas,” Conley said.

For the record, Parsons’ career high was 16.6 points per game five years ago for the Rockets. The Grizzlies, and presumably even those who would ambush Parsons in a social media video, would take something around 12 points per game with a nice 3-point shooting percentage and a little playmaking ability.

But for more than the 36 games Parsons gave Memphis last season.

Parsons understands. In fact, he admits that Chandler Parsons season-ticket holder would have booed Chandler Parsons oft-injured max contract guy.

But the contract, and the relationship, is not over. There is yet time to craft a better ending.

“They want to love me,” Parsons said of Memphis fans. “I just gotta give them a reason to.”


Memphis Grizzlies Chandler Parsons J.B. Bickerstaff Mike Conley
Don Wade

Don Wade

Don Wade has covered Memphis sports since 1998, voted on Baseball's Hall of Fame and the Heisman Trophy, and remains stunned his Kansas City Royals won a second World Series in his lifetime.

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