PORTSMOUTH (WAVY) – Mahlon Parker, chairman and one of the founders of the famed Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, passed away at his home on Saturday. He was 93 years old.
“We are thankful for the many years of leadership Mahlon provided to the PIT,” read a statement on the PIT’s website. “He will be sorely missed and was truly a man of dignity and honor.”
Parker had been battling a prolonged illness, and passed away peacefully in his sleep.
Parker played in the very first PIT in 1953. Ever since, he helped put Portsmouth on the map and transformed the PIT into one of the longest-running events of its kind anywhere in the country. The tournament invites college seniors from all over the country for a five-on-five tournament, played in front of NBA scouts and general managers from every team.
John Stockton, Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen are just a few of the event’s notable alum.
A true southern gentleman to the end, Parker was also known for his unconditional sincerity and kindness. Always fueled by a love of his community, Parker, who remembered everyone by first name, was the first to greet anyone with a smile, a handshake, and thoughtful conversation.