Parker also gives more props to D-Rose in conversation with Camron Smith
By Joshua M Hicks (@jhicks042)
Chicago Bulls forward Jabari Parker has recently been put on blast in the media due to reports of his frustration in coming off the bench instead of being one the certified starters on the team.
Belief regarding whether this native of Chicago could be a significant building block in the Bulls’ rebuild often shifts from one game to another. One thing that will never change is Parker’s support and love for the community that bred him.
Recently, Parker, a product of the South Side, participated in The 77 Project, a special speaking session that was part of the week-long Chicago Ideas Week, which highlighted thought leaders and their impact in their respective communities. In a one-on-one sit down with CBS 2 and Comcast CN100 sports broadcaster Camron Smith, he talked about the importance of his community work as well as how his fellow one-time Chicago phenom Derrick Rose impacted him to be the best player he can be.
Parker highlighted his upbringing, growing up near 79th and Chappel, one block East of Jeffrey, and how his demographic of Chicago changed overtime due to the exposure he has been blessed with.
“I was just fortunate enough to be in the position to see the demographic,” Parker said. “On the South Side you only see one group of people, but now I’m able to go to different parts of the city and I want to implement that side of things to the South Side.”
Often times, kids from the South Side of Chicago have few experiences in the other sides of Chicago, especially downtown. Parker discussed experiencing discrimination within the city and stated how he overcame the negative stereotypes and became comfortable with the different environments Chicago offers.
“I did experience discrimination to where I could not enjoy the city because all my life I learned you do not go to certain places if you do not belong there,” he said.
“But who is to say that I do not belong there? It is about being comfortable and just because you look a certain way does not mean you should not experience what the world has to offer.”
Parker strives to expose the youth and encourage them to step outside of their comfort zone, try different things and simply be themselves — he hosts a basketball camp that he gives to the youth for free, meals and clothing included, and his passion for giving back to the community is inspired by the blessings he counts on a daily basis.
“[Hosting a free camp] is special because I count my blessings,” Parker said. “I’m blessed so why should it take a lot more just to get me to certain places? It should already be there. I’m going to be well off, so is it better to take time out of your schedule and give back or just receive it? That’s greedy to me.”
Parker also spoke with Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson on Scoop B Radio, crediting some of his inspiration to be his best on and off he court to Rose, who blazed a direct path to Parker in his rising to be an elite college recruit and later NBA star from the South Side and Simeon High School.
“[Rose] was a big inspiration because he was doing it, like, the first person I saw, like, so young, doing it at a young age,” Parker told Robinson.
“He was dunking in, like 7th Grade, so from off the bat he was already having fans from that moment, and he was one of the reasons why I went to Simeon.”
Parker has experienced hardships since entering the league, including two ACL injuries within a 3-year span, a story line similar to Rose’s, but like his elder Wolverine he has bounced back. Parker told Robinson how people need to understand their mindsets to persevere with their careers.
“I just want people to dig in and to really realize how tough that is,” Parker said.
“Not a lot of people look at a story and appreciate that, from the back. When you don’t quit, and you continue on, that’s success in itself, and there’s a lot of people that can use those intangibles for everyday usage, because you don’t have an easy life. Everybody’s dealing with something, and he’s a person that’s pretty much never quitting.”
Joshua M. Hicks is the lead columnist of WARR