The only thing bigger than the smiles in Laie Tuesday was Milwaukee Bucks’ forward Jabari Parker.
More than 200 kids in grades 3-12 participated in a basketball camp hosted by the 6-foot-8, 250-pound NBA star on the campus of BYU-Hawaii free of charge.
Parker, whose mother is Tongan, participated in teaching drills, a scrimmage period, and played one-on-one with hundreds of participants during the camp.
“A little bit of my culture is instilled here in Hawaii, and if I had the time why not use it for a good cause?” Parker said. “This is what the kids give me, a look of character that I can practice on.”
The former second-overall selection out of Duke University in 2014 didn’t hold back from showcasing his skills in the one-on-one period, rattling off numerous highlight reel dunks and coconut-butter-smooth jump shots.
“I’ve never seen anybody so happy to be posterized, but we’re just having fun. It’s all about growth and development. At the end of the day, if the kids are not enjoying themselves, it’s really doing them harm,” Parker said.
Parker’s brother, Christian, is a former basketball player for the Seasiders. He helped orchestrate the camp while he prepared for his wedding.
Christian wanted to make sure the youth in Laie were given the opportunity regardless of financial status and “more importantly just the fact that somebody cares.
“Somebody wants to be around and see them,” he added. “This is a Polynesian place. Jabari is a Polynesian basketball player, so if he has the opportunity to be in close quarters and influence them, they’re going to remember it, and he enjoys it a lot too.”
In the 2015-2016 season, Jabari averaged 14.1 points and 5.2 rebounds-per-game with Milwaukee.