"Twenty five on the court, No. 1 in my heart!" screamed an adoring fan as she spotted Chandler Parsons' head bobbing towards her above the crowd. Making his first public appearance since the news came out that the Houston Rockets plan to decline the option on his contract, which will make Parsons a restricted free agent this summer, the young forward received plenty of love from his people.
It was a chaotic but somehow intimate scene at the Macy's in Memorial City Mall on Saturday with Parsons touting Kenneth Cole's newest cologne — Mankind. And the women certainly came out for the Rockets' heartthrob small forward and sometime male model.
It is safe to say Chandler is more than happy in Houston. "Of course I love Houston and want to be here, but that's up to them, not me," Parsons said.
If the Rockets decline to pick up Parsons' option as expected, another team could swoop in and sign him to one of those so-called poison pill contracts that make it almost impossible for Houston to match the offer. (That's how the Rockets and general manager Daryl Morey got Jeremy Lin themselves.)
"Of course I love Houston and want to be here, but that's up to them, not me."
A mix of cardamom, tarragon leaves, ginger and a splash of pineapple blended with cedarwood, vetiver, sandalwood, oak moss and musk . . . that's what Mankind is supposed to feature. Parsons says "the fragrance is for the bold, self-made man. Besides the obvious fact that it smells really, really good, every girl I've asked about it has been attracted to it."
Let's hope these women weren't just being distracted by Parsons' piercing blue eyes, which have made the NBA player a hot commodity in fashion. Well that and his tailored, European style. No baggy T-shirts and too-large suits for Parsons.
"I'm really into the design world, so when I heard about Kenneth Cole I was jumping to support him. It was a no brainer for me," Parsons said, right before he was swept upstairs to meet the hundreds of admirers awaiting him.
Guys went for the smooth handshake, girls shrieked as they passed him handwritten love letters, and Houston Rockets jerseys seemed to be everywhere.
At 2 p.m. sharp, Parsons came out to promote the cologne and took the time to pose with fan after fan. Some of those fans had been lined up since 8 a.m., wanting to make sure they got their moment with No. 25. Guys went for the smooth handshake, girls shrieked as they passed him handwritten love letters, and Houston Rockets jerseys seemed to be everywhere.
Parsons doesn't want to leave this rabid community — or his tight-knit team.
"We're all so close in age that we hang out when not playing too," Parsons said, singling out his friendship with All-Star center Dwight Howard. "We go to dinner, we go out. I think that bond really helps our chemistry on the court. It makes us play better and just have a lot of fun."
So where will you find Parsons on his nights off? "I like to eat a lot . . . like Uchi and Kata Robata," he said. "There's also this place in Pearland, Killen's Steakhouse, that is probably the best steak house in Houston."
What will Parsons be smelling like in these hotspots? It's a good bet, you'll get a whiff of Mankind.