By Todd Johnson; theGrio.com

A few minutes talking to Chicago high school basketball star Jabari Parker is refreshingly informative, reflective and positive.

It sounds as if Parker is looking back on a college career completed – despite the fact he’s entering Duke next season as one of the most heralded recruits they’ve had in some 20 years.

He is an 18-year-old going on 25.

Saturday, Parker and 21 of the nation’s other top basketball recruits will compete in the Jordan Brand Classic at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. For most, the high-school all-star game is the ‘last act’ before graduations and preparation for the upcoming college basketball season.

“Everything in my city is negative,” Parker said of how he feels his hometown is portrayed in national media. “[The media] try to bring it down so much with the violence and I’m an African-American male in my community…going to college and that’s big time. I want to represent them in the best form, the best manner just to keep them close to my heart so they can see that there’s a young [guy] out on the South Side doing big things.”

TO CONTINUE READING, VISIT THEGRIO.COM