Scholarship offers started rolling in when Jabari was in the sixth grade. They came from Illinois, Brigham Young, Washington, Purdue and Kansas. UCLA started showing interest, too, and by the time he was in high school, just about everyone was offering.
They all wanted a piece of him, and it wasn’t just the colleges. Fans mob Parker at games, screaming his name and begging for autographs, and often, they’re not even from Simeon.
They’ve seen him on TV or online and just want their brush with him. Usually, he’ll accommodate them, but sometimes, he needs an escape.
He finds one in religion. That means rising several days a week at 5 a.m. for Bible study and heading from the family’s brick bungalow on the city’s South Side to worship a few miles away, near the University of Chicago.
The day of the interview at the house earlier this year, there was a reminder on Jabari’s door to “put the Lord first” along with several sheets of 8-by-10 white paper. One listed the Ten Commandments, the other personal rules such as “don’t be quick to judge” and “Think positive things.”
For now, big things are happening for Parker.