To get to where Jabari Parker is mentally these days, you have to begin at the end.
At the tail end of a lengthy interview in which Parker addressed everything from where he wants to be after the February trade deadline to his transition defense, the benched Bulls forward offered an unsolicited point in emphatic fashion.
“I will never point the finger. That’s not me. That’s not my career. That’s not Jabari,” Parker told the Tribune. “My Dad taught me better than that. I’m a God-fearing man. I would never bash somebody. I’ll tell you what I think is the truth. But making it personal and telling lies is not me and will never be me.”
By all accounts, Parker had a strong practice Saturday, preparing for a Sunday evening game against the Raptors that he almost certainly will watch from the bench. Parker hasn’t played for seven straight games, a shocking and well-documented demotion for the Bulls’ premier free-agent signing.
This obviously isn’t how Parker envisioned his homecoming playing out when the former Simeon High star signed a two-year, $40 million deal with a team option that won’t be picked up.
“It definitely isn’t. And I’m sad to say that,” Parker said. “I kept my end of the bargain.”
Parker was upbeat as he talked. He made eye contact. He listened to questions and contemplated some of them for several seconds before answering.