Jabari Parker is LDS
Jabari Parker is an NBA basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks. He was the 2nd overall draft pick in the 2014 draft.
He was the feature of a Sports Illustrated cover story as a high school junior. At the end of his junior season he was named national boys’ basketball Gatorade Player of the Year. He was the ESPN HS National Player of the Year. Parker draws comparisons to many elite basketball players and continues to be measured against former Simeon standout and 2011 NBA MVP Derrick Rose.
Jabari Parker is also a Mormon. Besides being a star basketball player at his high school, Parker also attends early morning seminary. The following is from the Sports Illustrated article about him:
The backpack that Jabari Parker takes everywhere contains all the expected items: a pair of Nikes, socks with the NBA logo, basketball shorts, T-shirts, Icy Hot gel, a couple of rolls of athletic prewrap, and an iPod loaded with rap and R&B. But there’s also a paperback copy of The Book of Mormon. Jabari belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. “Basketball is what I do,” he says. “It’s not who I am.”
Jabari’s father, Sonny, who played for the Warriors from 1976 to ’82, is not a Mormon, but his wife, Lola, is a lifelong member of the church, and their four children have been raised as Mormons. Jabari’s religion makes him a minority on two fronts. Mormons make up just 1.7% of the U.S. population. And of the 6.2 million Mormons in the U.S., only about 186,000, or 3%, are black. At Simeon, Jabari is one of only two Mormons out of 1,588 students.
“I used to have to explain to a lot of my friends that not all Mormons are from Utah, and not all Mormons are white,” Sonny says. “There are a lot of misunderstandings about the Mormon faith.”
Says Flannigan, “When people around Chicago first find out Jabari’s a Mormon, they are shocked. But whatever doubt there is about who he is or what he represents is quickly brushed away by his character.”