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Pelicans center Jahlil Okafor’s father flew straight from Chicago upon learning son will start

Jahlil Okafor, Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans center Jahlil Okafor had the opportunity to start his first game against the Memphis Grizzlies. When he told his father of the great news, he flew all the way from Chicago to Memphis to see his son play.

Okafor told Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com that it felt “normal” for his father to be at his game. But he’ll always remember this game for what his father did as soon as he knew that his son will start:

“It felt like normal. If you ever been to any of my games, from third grade to now, my dad’s always been that parent. Always super supportive of me, whether I was in a game, or playing an instrument in a band. “My father (being here). He found out I was starting and took the next flight out of Chicago. My biggest supporter since Day 1. That means a lot, to have somebody in your corner like that.”

Jahlil Okafor has been a black sheep ever since he came into the league. Unfortunately, the modern era of basketball makes it harder for back-to-the-basket post scorers to thrive. Plus, Okafor can hardly guard opposing big men especially stretch bigs. He’s a liability on defense and it’s been a struggle for him to find playing time outside of a backup role.

So far this season for the Pelicans, he’s averaged 9.8 minutes, mustering 4.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game while shooting 54.8 percent from the field. He’s filled in when necessary but hadn’t started a game until Monday night.

His father might want to follow his upcoming games live after this performance. With Anthony Davis expected to be out for one to two weeks, Jahlil Okafor could get more chances at redeeming himself.