With all the hope and promise that high school phenom Jabari Parker symbolizes for Chicago, the overwhelming amount of gun violence and senseless murders amongst teens that have taken place in the Windy City has trumped the positive emotion.
“For me, it was kind of emotional” said the Duke-bound wing after an impressive performance in Monday’s nationally televised win for his Chicago Simeon over Oak Hill. Parker was asked about Tyrone Lawson, the 17-year-old who was shot and killed after Simeon defeated Madison Park 53-51 last week, after a brawl which took place in the stands and spilled out into the parking lot after hostile postgame handshakes.
Lawson was reportedly shot while trying to runaway from the brawl.
As beyond sad as it is that another teenager has lost their life amidst what is almost a genocide in one of the greatest cities in America, this instance has received a bit more media attention because it happened so close to one of the most promising young athletes in the country.
There’s also the Benjamin Wilson story, which was recently portrayed in the ESPN 30 for 30 “Benji.” Wilson had all of the promise that Parker has on the basketball court, but was gunned down in Chicago in the Fall of 1984, just before playing his senior season. Much like Wilson, Parker has been touted as the next big thing in basketball, and Parker knows how important it is to his community for him to achieve success.
“If I so happen to make it one day, I want to be a community activist and just get these kids off the street,” said the 17-year-old Parker, who said it’s been difficult seeing his city go through such turmoil. Parker is beyond aware of what’s going on in the city around him, but insists he’ll be fine. “I’m always away from all that stuff. I’m never outside in the public.”
Even with millions of dollars and stardom ahead for Parker, it isn’t easy being a teenager.
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