Richard Parsons is the former Time Warner CEO and Citigroup chairman who was appointed by the NBA to run the Los Angeles Clippers on an interim basis in the absence of Donald Sterling. Parsons has long been described as a former varsity basketball player at the University of Hawaii in coverage of his career by publications including the New York Times and The New Yorker, which called him a "basketball star." The NBA's press release announcing his appointment to the Clippers mentioned that he "played basketball" in college. But this afternoon Deadspin published a piece by Dave McKenna that suggests Parsons may never have played basketball at Hawaii at all.
"Unfortunately we do not have statistics on Dick Parsons," says Neal Iwamoto, sports information director for Hawaii's men's basketball program.
It's not just that Parsons doesn't show up in box scores, photos, rosters, or news stories from 1964 to 1968, the years he says he was at the school. The guys who do show up don't remember ever playing alongside any Dick or Richard Parsons.
"There was nobody on the team with that name," says Harvey Harmon. A three-year letterman at Hawaii in the mid-'60s, he was captain of the varsity squad during his senior year of '67-'68, the same year Parsons says was his senior year at the school.
Contacted by Deadspin, the NBA and Clippers said that Parsons only played on the freshman team—not the varsity team. Parsons doesn't appear to ever have made any previous attempt to correct the record on the varsity/freshman issue despite being ID'd as a varsity player in some of the most prominent publications in the country. And he told a PBS interviewer (who seems to be under the impression he played through all four years of school) that Hawaii basketball coach Red Rocha was a "father figure" to him. But according to the University of Hawaii, Rocha never coached the freshman team, while the aforementioned Harvey Harmon, who would have been on that freshman squad with Parsons, says flatly that "he didn't play on the team."