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Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Jabari Parker is a reluctant star

By Dana O'Neil

Jabari Parker is talking about the strange world he inhabits, the one where he is a basketball superstar who dislikes the spotlight, the one that finds a kid who prefers the we culture while living in the middle of the me culture, when he says something so astounding, so unexpected, you make him repeat himself.

"It's all on account of when I was a kid, me having low self-esteem," he says.

Come again, please.

"Yeah, as a kid I didn't really have a lot to be proud of," he continues. "I knew I had raw talent, but I wasn't blessed with all of this athleticism, or right away with things. It took awhile for me to feel good about myself and my ability."

Before Andrew Wiggins reclassified and ignited Wilt Chamberlain comparisons, before the most recent edition of the best recruiting class ever enrolled at Kentucky, before all of his freshman frenzy, Parker was the center of the storm.

He was the one on the cover of a certain national magazine, tabbed "the best high school player since LeBron James." He was the USA Basketball male athlete of the year. He was the Gatorade national player of the year. He was the most coveted recruit, the center of breathless anxiety at college campuses across the country.

He was the kid every kid dreamed of being.

Except, that is, Jabari Parker.

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