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When the others join him, they sing a hymn and hear lessons based on the Old Testament, about avoiding the temptations teens face, valuing parents and giving back. Parker says he would come to this Bible study five days a week if he didn’t have to trouble someone that early in the morning for a ride.

“It gives me a better view of life,” he says.

On his bedroom door is a reminder to “put the Lord first” along with several sheets of 8-by-10 white paper. One lists the Ten Commandments. The other shows his “Always Remember” list, with his own personal rules: “Don’t be quick to judge” and “Think positive things,” among them.

Amid all the trophies is a Kobe Bryant Team USA jersey, hanging where Sonny had put Jabari’s U.S. team jersey after he returned from the FIBA Americas U16 Championship last summer. Within about 10 minutes the teen had replaced it.


“I don’t look up to myself,” he told Lola.

He does look up to his older brother Christian, which explains why their old bunk bed _ or the remaining bottom half _ is still in the room. Jabari had the top part and, well, he grew out of it.

Yet for sentimental reasons, he won’t get rid of the bed. He also keeps a drawing and poem Christian, who now lives in Seattle, gave him. In it, big brother praises Jabari’s athletic talent _ “heart, love for the game, commitment and a future to be the one.”

“He’s my biggest fan,” Parker says.

His father is there, too, to offer sports advice. His mom, who works as a nanny, has found herself playing the role of agent, taking calls from media and helping her son set up visits to prospective schools.

At the start of each week, they sit down and go through their calendars and requests.

Often, it is Jabari who is asking for less _ fewer interviews, fewer obligations, more time to rest and focus on his game. His ability to set limits has quickly become a survival skill.

“He tells us, `Mom and dad, don’t you guys get caught up into this,’” his dad says. “He tries to keep US grounded from all this.”

It’s not easy when he’s penciled in as an All-American and All-Star, and he wonders: “What if I don’t make it one day? What am I going to do with my life?”

For now, he plans to narrow his list of colleges down to five later this spring. A Mormon mission is a possibility for him at some point, too.

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