He may carry a flamboyant bloodline, but TNT Tropang Giga playmaker Ray Parks is looking to carve his own niche in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Parks said his nomination as Best Player of the Conference (BPC) is a testament that he is slowly stepping out of the giant shadow of his late father — seven-time PBA Best Import awardee Bobby Ray Parks.
Still, he knows that getting there wouldn’t be easy.
“I still carry the Parks name,” he said in a television interview.
“I just want to put my own footsteps down, bring my own chapter into play when it comes to playing in the PBA and create more chapters for the Parks legacy.”
Parks came into the country carrying the pressure of living up to his fathers’ legacy.
He was one of the best players in Memphis and was one of the top players in the recruiting class of 2011 together with current National Basketball Association stars like Bradley Beal and Anthony Davis.
But instead of playing in the US National Collegiate Athletic Association, where he was supposed to suit up for Georgia Tech, he took a one-way flight to Manila to join his father at National University.
The elder Parks died in 2013 while the son when on to emerge as two-time University Athletic Association of the Philippines Most Valuable Player before becoming the second overall pick in the PBA Rookie Draft in 2018.
Now, he’s making an impact in the PBA, posting impressive averages of 22.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.4 blocks in 17 games to lead the BPC race of the Philippine Cup.
He said the mere nomination is already an honor.
“Being able to be a candidate for this award could really help solidify that in some ways. It’s just a testament to the hard work that you put in during the offseason,” Parks said.
“To be going up against names like Stanley Pringle and Matthew Wright and all those guys is already a privilege and honor. Those are some of the PBA’s greatest players, to be honest, from the present towards the future. I’m excited for that.”