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May 18, 2008 at 12:29 PM

More on Candace Parker vs. Oscar Robertson

I decided to check out what NBA legend Oscar Robertson had to say about his rookie triple-double debut on Oct. 20, 1960 for the Cincinnati Royals, and some of the similarities to Candace Parker are freaky. Parker missed a triple-double by two assists on Saturday night in her debut for the Los Angeles Sparks. In Robertson’s book “The Big O: My Life, My Times, My Game,” he writes how that year the Minnesota Lakers moved to Los Angeles. Parker is the No. 1 overall draft pick to the Sparks. The Lakers had a spry rookie of their own in Jerry West, whose team lost to the Royals as Robertson made history.
Robertson also writes about the fanfare for his debut because of his college accomplishments, drawing more than 8,000 people to the game. The largest in Royals’ history. The Phoenix Mercury nearly had 14,000 at the home opener against the Sparks, partly because of Parker, who had her own cheering section shouting “CP3!,” and for the Mercury receiving their 2007 championship rings on national TV.
Robertson finished with 21 points, 12 boards, and 10 assists. “(The Cincinnati) Enquirer called it ‘perhaps the finest performance in four seasons, as (Royals) rang up more points than any one Cincinnati team in history.’ Of me, a columnist said: ‘His superb faking and general generalship thrilled the fans, and there is no doubt he will be one of the greatest,'” wrote Robertson in his book.
The same was said about Parker across the WNBA. She set a league rookie record for most points scored in a debut, finishing with 34, 12 rebounds, and eight assists. Los Angeles Times columnist Kurt Streeter wonders if the media will run out of superlatives and everyone in the Storm and Chicago Sky camps were impressed, watching the debut on ABC.
“Candace Parker is definitely beyond anything I’ve ever seen in my life,” said two-time MVP Lauren Jackson. “She’s the real deal and I’m just glad I’m around to see it. The way that she held herself out there and hitting the big shots. Candace Parker is the L.A. Sparks. If they win the championship this year, it’s going to be because of her. She was impressive, dude.”
Parker was worried about tossing up airballs, but was able to ease into the game because of veterans like Lisa Leslie. And, as West said of Robertson, Parker never really acted like a rookie.
“My on-court adjustment process went fairly easily, I think,” wrote Robertson of his first NBA season. “The game was faster, the players stronger, but nothing overwhelmed me. The pro game involved a lot, processing the different things you had to do, while at the same time being able to make decisions and react.”
We’ll see if Parker can continue this type of play, however. Let’s not forget that Robertson nearly averaged a triple-double that year in 30.5 points, 10.1 boards, and 9.7 assists.



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