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Top hoops prospect Parker relies on faith, family
Question of the Day
“The media has definitely changed where it’s even crazier,” Rose says. “I can only imagine.”
What it means is that Parker, a soft-spoken young man who likes old “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” reruns and NBA matchups on ESPN Classic, feels a lot of pressure to be perfect.
“You can’t really mess up,” he says. “There’s always going to be a camera on you everywhere you go.”
So how does he cope? Answer: faith and family.
A devout Mormon like his mother, Jabari worships at a church near the University of Chicago and the Parker home, a simple brick bungalow in a working-class section of the city’s largely African-American South Shore neighborhood.
It is not a flashy place, but it is, like Parker and his family, solid.
“I take for granted having two parents and a good inner circle,” he says. “And I know that a lot of people that are superstars in the sports world right now didn’t have a lot of the resources that I have.”
Few have the talent he has.
Lola Parker could see it when Jabari, the youngest of seven children, was in the second grade and going against fourth and fifth-graders in a league set up by Sonny, who established a foundation to help inner city youth in Chicago after he retired.
Sonny, by the way, isn’t the only professional athlete in the family. Lola has four relatives with pro football experience: Kansas City Chiefs tight end Tony Moeaki; Baltimore Ravens nose tackle Haloti Ngata; Philadelphia Eagles fullback Stanley Havili; and, running back Harvey Unga, a 2010 supplemental draft pick by the Chicago Bears.
Jabari might be the best of the bunch.
Scholarship offers started when he was in the sixth grade. Back then, they came from Illinois, Brigham Young, Washington, Purdue and Kansas, the Parkers say. UCLA started showing interest, too, and pretty much everyone was offering one by the time he hit high school.
To get an idea how big Parker is now, go back to an evening in September, when Simeon hosted an open gym. Not even a practice, mind you, but an open gym.
A who’s who of coaches jammed the court from baseline to baseline.
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