Atlanta Hawks

Chandler Parsons injured by drunk driver, NBA career may be over

Knee issues have kept Chandler Parsons off the floor a lot in recent years, but severe injuries in a car accident last week have put his NBA playing career in jeopardy.

Chandler Parsons was not going to play much for the Atlanta Hawks this season after being traded to them last July, so it’s not too surprising he has only played five games and a total of 54 minutes as knee and wrist issues have also limited his availability at times. But last week, things took a dramatic, ominous turn in terms of his playing future.

Parsons was involved in a car accident after practice last Wednesday, which led to him being placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol as he also suffered whiplash. He seemed unlikely to take the floor for awhile earlier this month, as the Hawks turn to younger players, and after the car accident his status for the rest of the season was naturally put in doubt.

More details of the accident were not given immediately last week, but on Monday they came out via Parsons’ attorneys. Parsons’ accident involved a drunk driver, who was arrested and has been charged with DUI. His injuries were substantial, including a traumatic brain injury, disc herniation and a torn labrum. Based on his securing representation, a lawsuit against the offending driver seems sure to come.

Parsons is in the final year of the four-year, $94.4 million contract he signed with the Grizzlies in July of 2016. Chronic knee issues have limited him to just 100 games over the course of the deal, while sapping the athleticism and 3-point shooting prowess (37 percent or better in four straight seasons) that made him such a promising player when he was with the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks as a 24-27 year old. Now, at age 31, Parsons career may be over due to dramatic and unfortunate circumstances that are no less beyond his control than the knee issues that have plagued the recent years of his career.

With that $94-plus million deal putting his career earnings up to nearly $127 million by the end of this season, Parsons will be just fine financially and future generations of his family won’t have to worry about money. But that is beside the point.

The easy punch line Parsons has become for a player not delivering production to the level of a big contract has now taken a more substantial turn, with not just what may be career-ending but also perhaps life-altering injuries.

Amid the negative social media reaction that has come in the wake of Monday’s news, let the rest of us remember Parsons is a human with a lot of his life ahead of him. The value that’s been placed on him as a basketball player is inconsequential right now.

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