Parker working out with Bulls teammates, giving back to Chicago

CHICAGO — Jabari Parker has been a busy man since signing a two-year deal with his hometown Bulls.

Parker and the Bulls helped support and celebrate the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Celebration on July 22. The new Bulls small forward has been very active in the Chicago community, even when he was playing for the Milwaukee Bucks.

The 23-year-old has hosted multiple free basketball and life skills camps for kids in The Windy City, and now that he’s back in Chicago, Parker will expand his work even more, with this year’s youth basketball camp set for August 2-3 at Quest Multisport Complex.

“Ever since I was young, my dad was involved in the community, and my mom too,” Parker told Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports Chicago. “And they just emphasized how important it was to just pass it along and extend the offer of help to those who need.

“I was that same kid who hopefully is going to be at my camp, and my dreams came true just because I had that exposure. That’s what I’m able to provide for the kids, just to be around me and see it up close. There’s more than one way to be successful in life. Basketball was my journey, but if we provide more outlets for kids they’ll get that proper exposure for whatever they want to do in life.”

Parker signed a two-year, $40 million deal with the Bulls. The second year of the contract is a team-option, essentially giving Parker a one-year tryout with Chicago to prove he can stay healthy and be productive at the small forward position.

In 31 games in 2017-18 with the Bucks, Parker averaged 12.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists while shooting 48.2 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from three. He missed most of the season recovering from his second ACL tear.

Parker threw out the first pitch at the Chicago White Sox game Tuesday night. He’s been making the rounds since coming back home, but is focusing on his game as well. Parker has been working out with his new Bulls teammates at the Advocate Center on a daily basis.

“Just to be integrated with that style of play is going to be something fun,” Parker said. “It’s going to be something that I’m looking forward to, especially with the guys on the team. Right now, I’m just trying to be around them as much as I can so we can catch up on the chemistry we’re gonna build during the season. That’s what we’re trying to do right now in the summer.”

Parker also plans to start a program to provide free tickets for kids to come out to the United Center and watch Bulls games.