It seems as though Jabari Parker never stops playing basketball. After winning his second consecutive Illinois Class 4A State Championship at Simeon, Parker hit the spring and summer circuit hard, first splitting time with Ferrari and the Mac Irvin Fire.
As if playing up on 17U for two elite Chicago-based AAU programs wasn't enough, Jabari was also fortunate enough to represent the United States in the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Mexico. In the tournament, Parker was dominant, racking up MVP honors for the tournament as the United States cruised to the tournament title with all blowout victories.
"When they play the national anthem you feel the significance and the importance in representing your country," Parker said of the experience. "When I got a chance to represent the country I just had to give my full ability and just give up my body for a second."
Some might be content with MVP honors in a major international competition, but Parker literally flew into Chicago from Cancun and headed straight for the Kevin Durant Skills Academy, where after landing at 2:30 p.m. from an international flight, he was still able to get taped up and on the floor by 4 p.m. for the camp's introduction.
"I'm trying to get used to the pro life," Parker said. They travel so much and I just want to get used to it like them."
"Probably not. Only time can tell," Parker said of taking unofficial visits. "If (a school) wants me to come down, I'll try to make an effort to come (visit)."
Meanwhile, in July, Jabari started out at the LeBron James Skills Academy and played with many of the top players in the country. He also had a chance to play a scrimmage with LeBron James as his teammate.
"It's been good playing against some of the top talent in the country," Parker said. "It gets the best out of me to go hard every time. The LeBron Camp showed me how hands-on Nike is by allowing us to play with some of the best players in the NBA."
But in perhaps his most telling moment of the July period, Parker showed up to play with the Mac Irvin Fire in an event that ran the day after LeBron ended.
Although he was not supposed to play in the event in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst, Parker showed up and put on a special performance as the Mac Irvin Fire defeated the R.E.A.C.H. Legends in overtime.
While it's unclear as to why Parker chose to play, one might speculate that R.E.A.C.H. Legends 2012 wing Sherron Dorsey-Walker might have had something to do with it.
In a much-publicized battle at Spiece in early May, Dorsey-Walker had a breakout game as he dropped 35 points on Parker and the Mac Irvin Fire as R.E.A.C.H. pulled out the victory.
In the rematch, Parker did the talking with his game, registering a quick nine points in the game's opening minutes on his way to 27 points. Dorsey-Walker, meanwhile, was held scoreless as Parker defended him for most of the game and frustrated the three-star wing into multiple turnovers and rushed shots.
Parker walked off the floor with a smile on his face. While many players his age would take a local event like that off, the relentless nature of Jabari's competitiveness shined through once again.
"It's something that I have to do if I want to be at the top of my level," Parker said. "Playing in these different events is going to make me better. So I'm very appreciative of it all."