Friday, February 10, 2012 Updated: February 11, 6:33 PM ET
Chicago second to none in hoops talent
By Scoop Jackson ESPN.com
Sometimes it's appropriate to speak when not spoken to. Sometimes -- again, not all of the time, just sometimes -- it's appropriate to pound your chest, pop your collar, find the mountaintop and let the rest of the world know the truth. As unconventional and inconvenient as it sometimes can be. Sometimes you gotta go Kanye.
Jabari Parker is considered the top high school prospect in the country.
"Chicago is the basketball capital of the world!"
(There, it's said. New York, L.A., Dallas, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, etc. you can have the mike back now.)
Inconvenient, right? Unconventional? But real. Validation is easy. Name another city in the world that can claim the following:
The projected No. 1 pick in this year's NBA draft (Anthony Davis)
The consensus No. 1 high school basketball player in the country (Jabari Parker)
I'll stop there. If I go any further some people might read into this as gloating. But consider the facts above. When is the last time one place could lay claim to being the birthplace to arguably the three top players at all three major levels of the game all at the same time?
Phil Georgeff calling this a trifecta would be an understatement.
So since no one else can claim this title, we will. It validates the seemingly never-ending, bar-brawling arguments over which city reigns when it comes to basketball. Right now, at this very moment (and believe me this moment won't last long), the range of product that has been produced from Chicago-area asphalt of late is something rare and unique.
Add to Rose, Davis and Parker, Dwyane Wade. Also future star Iman Shumpert and No. 2 pick in the 2010 NBA draft, Evan Turner. Then Ryan Boatright once his drama at UConn clears and Wayne Blackshear, who scored 13 points in his debut for Louisville after suffering what was originally thought to be a season-ending shoulder injury. And marinating in the cut, players like Charles Matthews at St. Rita, a future star from the Class of 2015, and Jaylin Fleming of Beasley Academic Center, who two years ago was called, "the best 10-year-old basketball player in the country" and is now, according to middleschoolelite.com, the 2011 top-ranked sixth-grader in the United States.
Anthony Davis exploded on the scene at Perspectives Charter Schools, and his momentum hasn't slowed since.
Que 'Ye: You can't tell us nothin'!
There's nothing in the water, Wild Irish Rose or red Kool-Aid that we still drink in the Chi that allowed this to happen all at once. It's just an aged and old belief finally coming to fruition. For years Chi has never been shy about what the game of basketball has meant to us and what the city has meant -- and given -- to the game.
Decades- and generations-long arguments against Detroit, legendary court battles against New York, totally being dismissed and disrespected by New York and L.A. It goes back to trying to make the world understand that the Globetrotters were Harlem only in name; they originated right outside of this city. We gave them birth.
But forever no one heard. No one wanted to listen. Now, with Chicago having a corner on the b-ball market, it's Glenn Close time: We will not be ignored.
So understand we're not requesting or asking other cities to bow down or anything like that. That's not our style. Just recognize. And keep in mind that it will probably be a while before anyone is able to legitimately self-proclaim a mythical title like this.
Lemme repeat it just in case someone happened to miss or misread the above arrogance: "Chicago is the basketball capital of the world!"
Got it? Good. Gone.
Scoop Jackson is a columnist for ESPN.com.