Jabari Parker Announces his Decision

By: Mormon Heretic
April 18, 2014

I wanted to post this excerpt from the most recent Sports Illustrated article.

Jabari Parker

Today I sent my letter of intent to the NBA. That makes it official — my days as a Duke basketball player are over.

But my days as a Duke student are not. I intend to graduate from Duke while I’m in the NBA. I was an honor student when I arrived at Duke, and I’d like to graduate as one.

BENEDICT: Parker is the best high school basketball player since LeBron James

I know some people will say this is unrealistic. Others will say, why bother? The fact is that I have many interests beyond basketball. I’d like to write a children’s book. I am interested in various business aspects of the entertainment industry. And I’d like to work with corporate America in one way or another. A college degree from Duke will help with each of these aspirations.

I’ve had to make one other major decision recently. It is well known that I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where it is common — even expected — to serve a two-year mission at age 19. I just turned 19. And I come from a family with a legacy of missionary service. My mother, Lola, served a mission before she married my father. My older brother, Christian, recently completed a mission in Atlanta. And although my father is not a Mormon, he attends church with our family every Sunday and he has made it clear that he would fully support me if I chose to go on a mission.

I’ve been weighing this question for the past two years. After talking with my family, my local church leaders and a couple close friends I’m at peace with my decision to forego a mission for now and join the NBA. I don’t consider myself an exception to the rule. At this point in my life I know this is the right decision.

Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-basketball/news/20140417/jabari-parker-declares-for-nba-draft/#ixzz2zHAC6qj4


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9 Responses to Jabari Parker Announces his Decision

  1. handlewithcare on April 18, 2014 at 4:51 PM

    Not sure if this is actually satirical…too weird to be true?
    If it is true, then maybe my son is doing the same in foregoing his mission for med school. Although, he is actually so conflicted that he can’t square the circle for himself and continue to attend church. It’s a huge pressure for our little guys.

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  2. Benjamin on April 18, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    Good for him! I wish him the best in his career and hope he’ll be a shining example of his faith in a difficult atmosphere. I know there are many that will doubt this decision, but the kind of talent that can compete among the best in the world is, like missionary service, not something to be cast aside lightly.

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  3. Mormon Heretic on April 18, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    This is not a satirical story at all. Jabari could be the next Michael Jordan.

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  4. Douglas on April 19, 2014 at 6:42 PM

    No one thought the less for Donny Osmond for not serving a mission when eligible. Due to his celebrity, it might have been difficult anyway.

    Note that young brother Parker hasn’t kissed off a mission entirely, he simply wants to enter the NBA early. There have been professional athletes that have served missions after playing some “pro ball”.

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  5. Kristine A on April 20, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    Our leaders teach the ideal from the pulpit, they never teach the exception. We should all be careful when applying the exception to ourselves that we do so carefully and with full reliance on the Spirit and individual revelation for the path in our own lives. It sounds like Jabari has been very thoughtful and prayerful about his decision, and I wish him the best (esp if he ends up on my team – not the Jazz).

    I was interested in the ‘I don’t consider myself an exception to the rule’ line. We have a general rule, he didn’t follow it. Isn’t that an exception? Or is he implying with the next sentence that he’s following the rule of ‘knowing what the Lord would have you do’. I don’t know. Interesting, regardless.

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  6. Geoff -A on April 20, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    Not being an American, I thought the article on April 1, about the church negotiating with the nba was an april fools joke – perhaps not.

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  7. mh on April 20, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    There was an April fools joke that the church was going to call Parker on a mission in the city of the nba team that drafts him. The article said the nba would allow Parker s companion to sit on the bench during games.

    I was listening to the radio and they said that Parker was the first athlete to write an essay to tell his decision, and said it was similar to a college essay. It has never been done before and was a testament to his maturity. Many athletes barely read, do drugs, and are bad examples, but Parker is intelligent, spiritual and talented, a rare combination for most athletes. LeBron James televised decision was quite different than Parker. I am a jazz fan and hope they get Parker, but I wish him well unless the Lakers get him.

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  8. RockiesGma on April 20, 2014 at 8:58 PM

    Kristine: I took that phrase about not being an exception to mean that he did not view himself as anyone special enough to use that as a reason for fore-going a mission at this time. He’s doing it because of prayer, council, pondering and more prayer. I think he’s saying, “This is what The Lord wants me to do.” I like that he feels he’s no one to claim being excused, unless the Spirit says so. I hope he stays healthy, especially spiritually. The NBA could use a player like him in more ways than one.

    To Handle With Care: yes, a lot of pressure. My oldest handled it with grace. But my youngest developed panic attacks and left the church. He feels like a failure among Mormons, and for a long time, he felt that way in our family because our rhetoric left no room for not going. We always said, “when you go on your mission,” or other things of like-minded ness. Finally, after asking for forgiveness for assuming too much and thus creating unbearable anxiety for him, he believes that we do not view him as a failure.

    Anxiety disorders are tough. Most people think they’re trumped up to make excuses. They look on a guy as especially weak if he struggles so. I personally now feel that missions should be optional for young men as well as young women. I’ve seen time and time again where YW have thought they would not serve a mission, but weeks or months later they have an experience where they feel called to go. The choice gives them the opportunity to have that special experience with the Spirit. I’ve seen it with a few YM, but not often. I wish it was optional for them too, in the hope that if they felt called to go rather than expected to it might help many be able to serve more heartily, or even be able to go when they didn’t think they could.

    But most of all, it would dearly help those who are shamed for not going. So much of what we say and do is hurtful, even though we don’t mean it to be. We need to own that better, repent, and say and do better. Jabari won’t suffer from such, but the average guy who doesn’t go has, does, and will suffer unwise judgment.

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  9. Rigel Hawthorne on April 21, 2014 at 6:06 PM

    What an incredible opportunity Jabari has to positively influence countless youth worldwide. I am glad he sees that potential and has sought direction from the spirit rather than being swayed by pressure and judgment, of which celebrity LDS people feel so oppressively. I hope for the best in his decision to finish his education. All of his ambitions are tangible with his enormous talent.

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