Jabari Parker recently signed a two-year, $40 million deal with the Chicago Bulls and will become the latest player to play for his hometown team.
He’ll be following in the footsteps of fellow Chicago natives like Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade.
There’ll be a certain level of pressure on the 23-year-old to deliver success for his home team and Rose is certainly one man who knows all about that.
Carrying the hopes of a city
Bulls fans certainly had high hopes for the point guard after he was selected with the number one overall pick in 2008.
Parker was one of those fans and he looked up to him as he was tearing up the NBA in a Bulls uniform.
D.Rose became the league’s youngest MVP in 2011 as he led Chicago to the Eastern Conference Finals.
But his career in Chi-Town was ultimately ruined by injury as he suffered multiple career-threatening knee problems.
Since his first setback in 2012, he has struggled to stay healthy for an entire season since and was eventually traded by the Bulls.
But Parker says he’ll always be remembered for the great things he did for the franchise and the city.
“He’s still a hero for a lot of people, including myself,” he told ESPN.com a few months ago. “And his legacy is gonna be, it’s going to be with the tops and historically with the best no matter what.
“… We embrace Derrick so much no matter what he does; he can stop playing now. He’s going to be a legend.”
The small forward’s career already has many similarities to Rose as he’s suffered two ACL’s in his four years in the league and has found it hard to stay healthy.
Having attended the same high school as the 29-year-old, the Duke product will now follow in his footsteps by fulfilling a dream and donning a Bulls uniform.
The youngster credits Rose for paving the way for him to make it to the NBA.
“His influence on the culture helped me go to Simeon [high school],” Parker said.
“I’ve seen that if you bring a group of guys together, and if you are successful, then you’re going to do well, so that’s what I love: The exposure that he helped pave the way for me and other guys, and I was able to do that for other guys after me.”
The relationship the All-Star had with fans in Chicago may have soured before his departure but Parker says he’ll always regard him as his hero.
“I always remember the good times,” he said. “[Rose is] an MVP. Not many people can say they’re MVP of the league, and that’s all I remember is how he carried the city, who he was to us growing up, and that’s just going to be my hero.”
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