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Hawks’ Jabari Parker says ex-NBA vet Juwan Howard had a big impact on him growing up

Juwan Howard, Jabari Parker

Jabari Parker never misses the chance to use his platform to try and effect positive change in his community and society at large.

The Atlanta Hawks forward is hosting a free youth basketball camp in his hometown of Chicago this week for the fifth consecutive offseason. Obviously, it’s safe to say the local kids lucky enough to attend Parker’s camp look up to him as a model of professionalism, philanthropy, and what’s possible given the coalescence of hard work and natural talent.

Growing up, former Washington Wizards star Juwan Howard played a similar role for Parker, who credits the University of Michigan head coach as the inspiration behind his free annual camp.

“Juwan Howard was that guy. We all went to his camp,” he said in an interview with HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy. “It’s what we were looking forward to all summer. His camp was always the highlight of our summer. I went to his camp for five years straight when I was a kid. He did it for free, and it was amazing. He kind of passed the torch to me and I want to take care of the youth in this city.”

Parker signed a two-year, $13 million contract with Atlanta in free agency. The second season of his deal is a player option, meaning he’ll have the opportunity to get back on the market next summer.

The No. 2 overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft, Jabari Parker has struggled to live up to expectations thus far in his career. He’ll come off the bench for the Hawks at power forward, providing Lloyd Pierce’s team with some much-needed ancillary shot-creation.