Deseret News Exclusive: Mormon prep basketball phenom Jabari Parker makes the cover of Sports Illustrated

Author, executive editor discuss evolution of the story

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  • awsomeron Waianae, HI
    May 24, 2012 3:09 p.m.

    Remember this is a Mormon Web and Chat Site. Soft board though it may be, we still get a lot of expression in between the guide lines.

    In the search for Topic things like this become one. It is of interest to the General Demographic White Middle Class and lower upper class Mormons. I assure you the Baptist are Not running this.

    Large portions of the Demographic still think that the Church is vastly mostly white and a Black or any other person of Color going on a Mission is rare. Which I assure you it is not. Their Jaws will still drop when the young man knocks on their door.

    They see people other then white as Hispanic and to them they have there own Branches and Wards. Where I live in Hawaii my Ward and Stake is mostly run by Hawaiians, and Hawaiian Mixed, the mix of course includes Whites and Asians, My Chapel has 3 Wards and a Tongan Ward. The Rest is mixed of everything. Other parts of the Island with more Military have more whites and yes more blacks.

    It should not be an issue but it is because people won't let it go.

  • Baseball_dad Salina, KS
    May 24, 2012 12:00 p.m.

    Awsomeron: I understand what you are saying, But it should be about what this kid has done on the basketball court, Not about what race or religion he is or is not. What does any of that have to do with it?. The LDS religion is less then 3% of the US population, Even less world wide so why even bring it up?

  • awsomeron Waianae, HI
    May 23, 2012 10:28 p.m.

    Baseball Dad: Because people in place where the Ward may not display the "World Wide Church" can't seem to get over the fact that people of color lots of different colors serve Missions.

    It is not rare for this to happen anymore and it is not astounding, it is just a personal choice and an outstanding one.

    The heavy ball of race needs to be dropped and broken. Mormonism in 2012 is Not About Race. Its about the 3 fold Mission Of The Church. Getting the Work Done, and D&C 4:3.

  • Baseball_dad Salina, KS
    May 23, 2012 9:14 a.m.

    Why does most the comments on seem to revolve around race and religion?

  • Max Charlotte, NC
    May 18, 2012 10:37 a.m.


    You are amazing. I never said that YOU experienced anything like this. Just because YOU did not experience this type of thing or have witnessed it yourself does not mean it has never happened. Is your head really that far in the sand? It happens all the time. Maybe YOUR bishop has never put pressure on anybody but that does not mean that the athletes who say that their bishop did put pressure on them are lying! Chris Burgess said he received hate email. Are you saying he is lying? Scott Mitchel said he had a hard time from several people in Springville. He did not say everyone in Springville but enough to make it difficult. Is he lying too? I suppose also that President Monson was referring to absolutely nobody and addressing absolutely no problem when he stated that athletes should not feel obligated to attend BYU. And, you may not have seen any venom towards Kyle Whittingham but he sure did.

    By the way, nothing I have said is anti BYU. I am a BYU grad and donate money to them annually. I am very much against extremest fans, however, who embarrass the rest of us.

  • Balan South Jordan, Utah
    May 18, 2012 7:48 a.m.


    I've been around a long time and never heard of a bishop or stake president pressuring kids to go to BYU. What do they do - threaten them with excommunication??? As for my bishop - he is a Utah fan and my stake president is an Aggie. So much for the pressure they will put on kids to attend BYU.

    I grew up in Springville. Was there disappointment that Mitchell went to the U? Yes. But if it was as bad as you claim, I doubt he would ever have returned to coach at Springville High School.

    The "venom" directed at Whittingham??? Sorry, I don't see much at all. And what there is is most definitely far less than the abuse Bronco takes at the hands of Ute fans.

    Sorry, but I have not experienced the "pressure" to attend BYU that you are claiming exists. As I stated earlier, the only real pressure comes from parents, siblings, coaches, and friends. This type of pressure exists for EVERY kid that is being recruited to multiple D1 programs.

    You need to find another anti-BYU cause to trumpet that carries a little more validity.

  • Max Charlotte, NC
    May 18, 2012 6:31 a.m.

    @ Balan,

    I was responding to someone who said he (and many others) would "forgive" Chris Burgess ... Sadly it happens all the time. Actually, it is quite well known the venom Chris Burgess got when he went to Duke instead of BYU. The BYU coach told him he had disappointed the Prophet. Chris said he still received hate emails about it while he was at Duke. Scott Mitchell really got it bad from people in his home town of Springville when he chose Utah over BYU. Other players have reported the same thing. Some players have reported that their bishops and stake presidents have pressured them to go to BYU. If it had not been a problem, I doubt the brethren would have bothered to make a statement on the issue. My goodness, look at the venom directed at Kyle Whittingham because he turned down BYU. This nonsense has got to stop.

  • Capsaicin Salt Lake City, UT
    May 18, 2012 1:12 a.m.

    I'll consider him a "phenom" if he goes on a mission.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    May 17, 2012 9:35 p.m.


    Ah, so much to like, so much not to like about your comment.

    What is it they like to say in sports? Act as if you've been there before? Yes, we ARE so insecure that we like to see people of our faith succeed. And we like to see when other people see it. But after all, across the board, the thing most Americans think when they hear "Mormon" is "cult." Yes, it pleases me that all of sporting America will know that Jabari is a fabulous athlete, a fabulous (young) man and a Mormon.

    Mitt Romney and "Mormon" not in the same headline??? In the south??? You gotta be kidding me.

    And JFK was the first Catholic President. A lot was made of it, before the election, after the election and even long after the election. And yes, Catholics were elated. Because America was a little less than hospitable to Catholics, especially Irish Catholics. Sounds like a familiar story line to me.

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    May 17, 2012 6:34 p.m.

    It is great see the common stereotypes melting away with God's own chosen vessels.
    I believe Jabari is one of them.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    May 17, 2012 5:45 p.m.

    You know, it is cool that he is gracing the cover. But I live in the heart of Baptist and Methodist territory, and I have yet to see a single sports piece or even news piece where someone's religion is the main topic of the headline. Not even Mit Romniey's religion has made that distinction.

    What is is about people of my faith that are so insecure that they need to call out everyone who looks even slightly successful? It is almost like the gay outings.... hey - did you know (fill in the blank) is a Mormon. As if this makes a difference. Honor the kid for being good a what he does..... his faith should not be first word in the headline. No kidding it is a DN exclusive. No other self respecting "news paper" would lower its journalistic standards this way.

    I can see it now.... in Charleston .. news headline .... Catholic Steven Clobert wins comedy award.... how stupid would that look. We want the world to take us seriously... lets act a little more mature about our faith.

  • billybubba South Jordan, UT
    May 17, 2012 1:50 p.m.

    @ CaliforniaCougar
    I, and 7,999,999 other people, will officially forgive Chris Burgess, if Jabari Parker comes to BYU.

    Sarcasm does not go over in type. I hope this was just sarcasm. I hope he goes where he will be happy and enjoy his one year of college. Good humble kids are easy to root for no matter where the go it is the prima donnas that you root to fail

  • Utes21 Salt Lake City, ut
    May 17, 2012 10:42 a.m.

    He sounds like he could have his choice of colleges. I have heard he and his family are huge fans of Duke and Coach K. The big basketball schools will be after him, they probably have offered him all sorts of scholarships already. Anyways it will be cool to see him play.

  • ute alumni Tengoku, UT
    May 17, 2012 8:23 a.m.

    i'm proud to be a mormon with people like him

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    May 17, 2012 7:45 a.m.

    As to Jeff Benedict, I know him and he is a class act.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    May 17, 2012 6:35 a.m.

    I'm sure he would be just as good a player if he didn't practice on Sunday. But that's Chicago.....

  • Andermart Pullman, WA
    May 16, 2012 10:42 p.m.

    This seems like a GREAT young man. It would be incredible to have his talent to compliment all of the incredible guards BYU is bringing in, and this is the one program that he will feel comfortable in with his gospel standards and interests, but I see him going to NC or one of those. He will be a great missionary before his mission no matter where he chooses. It seems like he already is. Keep it up Jabari. We would love to have you, anyone would, but go wherever you feel the best fit. And keep up the image.

  • JRJ Pocatello, ID
    May 16, 2012 9:49 p.m.

    Dixie Dan - Nobody said he was going to enroll at BYU, why would Utah county have a problem with him voting, and most of all what business is it of theirs - or yours - who he votes for. And frankly, he seems too genuine and humble to "waste his talents on the U:". He has already said, "Basketball is what I do, not who I am."

  • Balan South Jordan, Utah
    May 16, 2012 9:25 p.m.

    So Max, where is the pressure to attend BYU coming from??? I know that I have never talked to this young man, and although I would like to see him in blue I don't expect it to happen - nor will I hold it against him if he chooses a more highly profiled school. This idea that kids are pressured to attend BYU because they are LDS is ridiculous and is no more true than saying kids are pressured to attend the University of Utah because they live in Utah.

    The pressure to attend ANY school will come from the preferences of the parents and family; coaches who are recruiting the kids; and possibly close friends. But the idea that all LDS kids are pressured to attend BYU is a myth - a "smoke-blowing" technique used by those who dislike the Y.

    As for Jabari, he will be successful wherever he goes. He is already a tremendous role model and ambassador for the church. I too look forward to following his career and wish him the best in all he does.

  • localblue Sandy, UT
    May 16, 2012 8:37 p.m.

    Interesting point is if you read the article Danny Ainge says not every kid needs to go on a mission, although all kids should prepare for one. My view is it's a personal decision and one that should be made through personal review and prayer. My hope is that he comes to BYU and stays for more than a year. Like Jimmer, he'll bring a lot of publicity to the school just by being here. Unlike Jimmer, we'll hope he takes the school farther in the tournament and then has a successful NBA career. I also like the kid's honesty. The SI article says he wants to serve a mission but he also admits the NBA is every bball playing kid's dream.

    I'm not sure how active church member Bryce Harper is but it's pretty crazy that two LDS high school kids have been on the cover of SI within a matter of years and that both are considered top in their respective sports, neither of which is football.

  • Jazzsmack Holladay, UT
    May 16, 2012 7:34 p.m.

    The Jazz should clearing their roster of the detritus and debis that fills thier roster.

    And position themselves to draft this kid in a few years.

    Teams have traded their whole roster to get the one player that they truly need to lead them to a championship.

    Could you imagine a front court of favors and parker and some yet to be named good center?
    paired that with true star at two guard and point that can shoot and only needs to be as good as fisher or rondo or the points chicago or houston had.

    so far the jazz only have one true championship level starter, favors, and a few good bench players.

    clean out the garbage and truly develop the young players, and position themselves to get a player like parker that jazz have never had, and need to win a champioship.

    they can start by trading aj and harris and few others to get those first round picks they will need in a few years.

    May 16, 2012 7:06 p.m.

    Jimmer who?

  • ex patria cougar Tokyo, Japan
    May 16, 2012 6:20 p.m.

    Benedict wrote that Jabari could, "declare for the NBA draft and become the first African-American Mormon in the league."

    I think that Thurl Bailey, who joined the LDS Church while playing BBall in Italy before returning to the Jazz for the 1999 season might be suprised to hear that.

  • awsomeron Waianae, HI
    May 16, 2012 5:45 p.m.

    I do not see why he would need any more luck then any one else. Lots of people of color serve Missions tomorrow I host a one from Idaho and one from Tonga and we are going to have Pizza and Salad, and Ice Cream. We are going to sit high on my hill overlooking Poki Bay and look out towards forever as the Sun sets in the Sea. Speak of my just departed friend and Speak of the work and getting it done.

    No more luck is needed No More Doors are Slammed as a matter of fact a few might just open up.If those day are not passed and those times are not gone then they son will be. You have thought us not to scream in our outrage but simply ask and plead in our prayers and the Lord will listen and the Lord will answer.I knew two white kids. Twins about 6'7" (one step key to basket) When they wanted someones attention they got it. One became a Dr took over dads office the other one entertainment. One wnet to Texas one to South America. Two years later the did not looklike twins.

  • Kouger Lehi, UT
    May 16, 2012 5:05 p.m.

    @LValfre's called giving credit where credit is due as in most, if not all, other things and aspects of life. Nothing beguiling or obsequious as implicated!

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    May 16, 2012 4:19 p.m.

    I love how some give him credit just for being LDS. "He's gained a follower" or "I'll follow his career" .... Would you guys care about him at all if he wasn't? Would this had made the DNews front page?

  • Max Charlotte, NC
    May 16, 2012 4:18 p.m.

    @California Cougar:

    Chris Burgess did NOTHING that needed forgiveness. He followed his heart and we loved having him here. It is very sad that there are some LDS members (well meaning as they are) who put so much pressure on these kids to abandon their dreams and attend BYU. Some of them are down right hateful when they do not choose BYU. The brethren have made is VERY clear that there is no obligation of any kind for an LDS athlete to attend BYU. In fact, in my opinion, it is when the salt leaves the shaker that it does the most good. I hope this young man will follow his dreams and go to the best school he can go to. He will be an outstanding role model wherever he goes.

  • Morgan Duel Taylorsville, UT
    May 16, 2012 4:15 p.m.

    Good luck kid, you will need it.

  • gratefulmouse san angelo, tx
    May 16, 2012 3:42 p.m.

    wonderful...I am so happy for him and his family...I hope he continues along these lines and dosent let fame get to his head..he has to remember that God is above all things...ever after and always....good luck jabari...and GOD BLESS YOU...keep it up...

  • MacNasty Rexburg, ID
    May 16, 2012 3:26 p.m.

    Re: Go Utes

    Don't worry about jokes coug fans will make about Jabari not going to the U. It really is no joking matter. Besides, the thought probably never even remotely crossed his mind to play for Utah; that would have been a serious waste of time and talent.

  • awsomeron Waianae, HI
    May 16, 2012 3:24 p.m.

    I really want to stay within the lines on this and say that he is a good kid and will one day be a great pro player, weather he serves a Mission or not. Donny nor Marie served Missions and both are indirectly responsible for more people being in the the Church then would have been had they served Missions. Some of those people are in Leadership positions today, some served Missions and now their children serve Missions and the beat goes on.

    You cannot point to a kid and tell your kids hay look at that kid that's your Role Model and Hero. What would the difference be if he was a White Ball Player. What does the pigmentation of his skin have to do with good grades or good behavior. "well he don't act like the rest of them" the rest of what! So he has had a good upbringing and it shows so what.

    Practice should not be held on Sunday anyhow. What about the 2nd string Baptist kid who wants to go to church. Except for the Basketball Skill I see No Exception here. I see Greater Expectation from adults. But Why?

  • SFA Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 16, 2012 3:18 p.m.

    Nice article! I enjoyed reading it and look forward to seeing what comes of Jabari. I wish him the best. In regard to no high school athlete gracing the cover of SI between Lebron and Bryce Harper though, I think you missed Sebastian Telfair in March of 2004.

  • Go Utes Salt Lake City, UT
    May 16, 2012 2:07 p.m.

    Seems like a good kid and one that will make a great missionary. He seems too promising and too on the ball to waste his talents on the Y. Given his upbringing, he obviously has no need for the security blanket and perceived advantage of having many other Mormons around. As for his prospects of coming to the U, well, I will let you Y fans make jokes about that.

    Look forward to following him. Good luck to him.

  • Kouger Lehi, UT
    May 16, 2012 1:53 p.m.

    Great story! I am impressed with Jabari - a rarity in today's world of young people and sports. He is going to be an influence for good among many. BYU or not, I'm a fan of his already. Wishing him the best!

  • Samwise Salt Lake City, UT
    May 16, 2012 1:48 p.m.

    As a BYU fan/alum I hold on to a hope that he will come to BYU. But I agree it is unlikely. Either way I will be cheering for him all the way (although probably not his team depending on where he goes). He sounds like a great kid and a great representative of the Church.

  • DEW Cougars Sandy, UT
    May 16, 2012 1:37 p.m.

    @AZRods - yes he is 1/2 black and 1/2 Poly which tells me why he is a reletive to Harvey Unga.

    Nice article about his lds faith and well documented. Good luck of your choices (college, mission or nba). I won't be disapointed if he chose elsewhere and Dave Rose won't say anything negative like Chris Burgas went through.

  • CaliforniaCougar Lake Elsinore, CA
    May 16, 2012 1:15 p.m.

    I, and 7,999,999 other people, will officially forgive Chris Burgess, if Jabari Parker comes to BYU.

  • CanuckFan Vancouver, BC
    May 16, 2012 12:55 p.m.

    Very cool!! Good luck to him. He is going to be under extreme pressure.

  • Dixie Dan Saint George, UT
    May 16, 2012 12:49 p.m.

    Great! A black LDS athlete from Chicago will enroll in BYU. I wonder how Utah County will react if he decides to vote for President Obama this November?

  • XelaDave Salem, UT
    May 16, 2012 12:34 p.m.

    Now we know the "Mormom Momement" is real- the cover of SI- the stuff that really matters in American culture and economics

  • AZRods Maricopa, AZ
    May 16, 2012 11:33 a.m.

    So nice to see a good young man with good character and morals.
    I really don't care if he becomes as good as LJ as long he stays true to his heart.
    After dumping the team he grew up with as a rookie, LJ jumped ship for the $$$ and a title.
    And he's still waiting on the title.

    Best of luck Jabari!

  • IDC Boise, ID
    May 16, 2012 11:33 a.m.

    Ton of pressure put on someone so young. He seems to be handling it with grace and hopefully he can continue. Hope to see him at the Y but will follow him regardless of where he goes.

    Interesting timing with the election. A black LDS kid from Chicago...Go Jabari!

  • Alpine Coug Alpine, UT
    May 16, 2012 11:24 a.m.

    What a wonderful and delightful young man blessed with a rare combination of faith, athleticism, and humility. Kudos to Jabari's father and mother for raising such an outstanding man. Will not even dare dream about him choosing BYU for his obvious "one and done" college career-since it is the longest of long shots. But wherever he ends up, I will look forward to following Jabari's future collegiate and professional careers. We should be extremely thankful for this young athlete and for the light and goodness that emanates from him.

  • mjkkjk Tuscaloosa, AL
    May 16, 2012 11:20 a.m.

    Great story. I'll be a fan of this guy wherever he decides to go to school.

  • Shaden Lincoln, NE
    May 16, 2012 10:21 a.m.

    Jabari is and will continue to be a role model.