HONOLULU (AP) — The interim chief executive of the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday responded to a report questioning his playing experience by saying he played one season of freshman basketball at the University of Hawaii and wasn’t very good.
In response to a Deadspin report questioning Parsons’ playing experience, a spokesman for interim Clippers CEO Dick Parsons said the former chairman of Citigroup and Time Warner never claimed to play varsity.
“Dick played on the freshman team at the University of Hawaii in 1964-65,” Parsons spokesman Ed Adler said. “He never said that he played varsity, that he lettered, or that he was a good player.”
Hawaii athletics officials said record-keeping during the era was poor and the school has no record of anyone who played on the 1964-65 freshman team.
“We can’t verify anybody played on that team,” Hawaii athletics spokesman Derek Inouchi said. “For `64-65 we have nothing at all for the (junior varsity) freshman team.”
Other university records neither confirmed nor contradicted Parsons’ position. A student newspaper report from Oct. 27, 1964, says it was the first year Hawaii had a freshman basketball team. But the newspaper did minimal reporting on the squad throughout the season and didn’t mention Parsons. Library records showed Hawaii didn’t publish a yearbook for the 1964-65 school year.
University officials could not immediately check student records to verify Parsons’ attendance because of a power outage at the student services building.
In announcing Parsons’ hiring May 9, a statement issued by the team begins its bio of him by saying: “After attending the University of Hawaii, where he played basketball ….”
Other media reports over the years include references to Parsons playing varsity basketball at Hawaii.
The NBA hired Parsons to run the team as the league tries to force current owner Donald Sterling to sell. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver handed down a lifetime ban to Sterling for making racist remarks, barring the owner from anything to do with the team or league. NBA owners are scheduled to meet June 3 on whether to force Sterling to sell.