Now who said Polys can’t ball? Actually, Jabari Parker is half African American and half Tongan and has just the right combination of heart, athleticism, size, strength and speed to become a huge success in the game of basketball. Standing at 6’8″ and around 225 lbs. this shooting star has been creating a huge buzz nationally as the #1 ranked player of his class in the country.
Move over NBA MVP Derrick Rose, introducing Jabari Parker. This heir apparent star, Jabari Parker, has accomplished the same feats as Derrick Rose for Simeon high school and has won three state championships but are you ready, as a Junior! Now at the end of his Junior year and playing since he was five, he grew up completely immersed by the game of basketball in Chicago. Being the youngest child in his family he had the opportunity to watch his siblings play the game, but it also doesn’t hurt when you grow up in the city of “His Airness” Michael Jordan. “Basketball is to Chicago like Football is to Texas” says Parker. Chicago is exploding with NBA stars by the likes of Dwayne Wade, Isaiah Thomas, Shawn Marion and NBA MVP Derrick Rose. Thus he has been completely absorbed by the game and was able to hone his craft while growing up in Chicago.
As the son of Robert Sonny Parker and Folola Finau-Parker, Jabari is absolutely irrevocably exploding onto the scene. An MVP college standout out of Texas A&M, Sonny Parker was taken in the 1st round of the 1976 NBA draft. As a former NBA player from 1976-1982, Sonny played for the Golden State Warriors his entire career. As of late, Sonny has been running the Sonny Parker Youth Foundation which he started in 1990 and was created to support inner city youth with educational programs, multicultural courses and basketball camps and summer leagues for youth and college athletes. Parker says, “My dad never pressured me to play basketball, but just being around my dad’s foundation gave me a solid appreciation for the game.” He goes onto say, “I have an older brother Darryl that played at Oregon and brother Christian Parker that played in college and will be coaching at the University of Washington that I look up to and were both examples to me in and out of the game of basketball.”
“It’s tough to be a ranked player, because now you have a bullseye on your back, but I’m not worried.”
Folola Finau, the daughter of Sateki Finau of the Kingdom Tonga, immigrated to the U.S. in hopes of achieving the American dream. Jabari’s success does not undermine the integrity instilled in him by his mother in staying grounded to the values of hard work, honesty and sacrifice so that others may be blessed with opportunities along the way. That’s the spirit of the Finaus in pioneering their way to this land of opportunity. Instrumental as well are Folola’s two young nephews on the NFL scene, Kansas Chief’s Tony Moeaki and Harvey Unga of the Chicago Bears. “They have contributed to the positive outlook and tenacious spirit to stay grounded as Jabari faces the challenges that come with being a nationally recognized Polynesian role model”, says Folola. “Being exposed to NBA and NFL players definitely gives you confidence in oneself to compete at a high level”, Jabari states. “My mom raised us in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and it’s my faith that gives me my foundation with the right perspective when I’m out there on the court, I’m able to stay calm and level headed,” says Parker. Jabari’s brother Christian served a 2 year full-time mission in Atlanta, Georgia for his church and said, “It’s something Jabari still has yet to decide and it’s my hope that he goes.” Having the ultimate foundation of spirituality and athletics from his parents and siblings will catapult him into a shining future. Parker in the next couple of years has a goal to win 4 state champions for Simeon high school. He says, “It’s tough to be a ranked player, because now you have a bullseye on your back, but I’m not worried.”
Parker is representing the USA Jr. Olympic team where they are playing against the world’s best in Cancun, Mexico this summer. Thewhatitdo.com asked Parker, “What’s one piece of advice you can tell upcoming ballers wanting to play basketball?” Parker calmly and humbly says, “Faith in God.” Now that’s Whatitdo!
Article Written By: Joseph Fotu
*YouTube video courtesy of cityleaguehoopstv