Jabari Parker was banned from rocking Jordans as a kid
Born and bred in the Windy City, you’d expect Jabari Parker to have grown up in nothing but Air Jordan’s – but in fact, it’s quite the opposite. He was actually banned from wearing them by his father and former NBA player Sonny Parker.
Jabari says his dad purposefully “didn’t have us wearing Jordans because of the robberies and the stick-ups when we were kids,” Parker told Sole Collector at the grand opening of Champ Sports’ Arena store in Chicago on Wednesday. “When time moved on and they started producing more [Jordans], I started being into the culture.”
Instead, Parker grew up rocking Nike Basketball styles like Vince Carter’s Shox BB4s and the Huarache 2K4s.
Champs Sports honored Parker and his father, retired NBA player and prominent Chicago organizer Sonny Parker, at its Arena store by inducting them into its Wall of Champions. The two spoke as part of a Jordan Brand panel featuring Chicago locals focused on the theme of respect. This theme was originally linked to Jordan’s Derek Jeter “Re2pect” campaign, which is no going brand-wide.
While Jabari recalled his father’s worries around the danger of wearing certain sneakers in Chicago, Sonny downplayed the idea of the city being unsafe.
“I don’t watch the news as much ’cause it’s so much negative stuff going on in our community,” Sonny said. “I’m not afraid of our community.”
Jabari may have grown up without Jordans, but he now has too many to count (What a problem, right?!), with the brand constantly sending him free sneakers. But he’s handing them out to the kids of Milwaukee knowing that someone out there will get better use out of them than he ever will.
“It got to a point where I got sick of shoes,” Jabari said. “Because they send me every shoe that comes out, and it could be anything. I don’t know what to do with them. I try to find as many kids as I can to give away shoes [to] around Milwaukee.”
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