Mormon hoop star featured in NY Times

Jabari Parker, a Mormon high school hoop star, prays before early morning LDS seminary class.

The buzz around a Mormon basketball player in Chicago is beginning to increase.

Jabari Parker, a 16-year-old who happens to be 6-foot-8 with full arsenal of hoop skills, was featured in the New York Times Thursday. Although only a junior, Parker is considered one of the top high school players in the country.

While the spotlight focuses mostly on his ridiculous basketball skills, there are other aspects of his life that are unique, as highlighted by NY Times reporter Ben Strauss. For example, the article talks about his attendance at early morning seminary and his love of the scriptures. He doesn’t smoke or drink alcohol – not even caffeine. He has a self-imposed curfew.

The article also shares some Parker family history, which is interesting. In 1982, his mother Lola, born in Tonga in the South Pacific and raised in an LDS family, met Jabari’s father, Sonny, then playing for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

“He has my DNA on the court,” Sonny told the NY Times. ”But he gets his personality from his mother.”

Robert Smith, Jabari’s high school coach, said he was the best player he ever coached. Smith also coached Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose four years ago.

Parker, who plays for Chicago’s Simeon High, was recently named USA Basketball’s Male Athlete of the Year.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Parker is his humility.

“Basketball is not who I am; it’s what I do,” he told Strauss.

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