Sports Illustrated is calling 17-year-old Chicago basketball phenom Jabari Parker “the best high school basketball player since LeBron James” on its cover this week.
But there’s more! It turns out that Parker is what you get when you combine the basketball genius of LBJ and the in-your-face faith of Tim Tebow.
Parker is a committed Mormon. His high school team moved Sunday practices to the afternoon so he could attend church services, and he left his team the night they won the state title so he could be ordained as a priest the next morning.
When he becomes eligible for the NBA Draft in 2014, he’ll have to choose between beginning his pro hoops career or embarking on a two-year Mormon mission.
He says he wants to go on a mission eventually. The only problem is that he’s a “once in a generation” talent, according to a high school scout.
The article describes Parker, who’s just a high school junior, as a 6’9″ monster with the skill-set of a guard and the basketball IQ of an old pro. So basically, he’s just like LeBron, with a dash of Tebow.
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