Jabari Parker said in a recently-published column that he plans to finish his Duke degree ...

Jabari Parker says in Player's Tribune column he hopes to eventually use Duke degree to become a teacher in Chicago

Multiple former Blue Devils have said after leaving school early for the NBA that they want to return to Durham to get their degrees. 

Few have done so with goals as lofty as Jabari Parker's. 

In a first-person column in The Player’s Tribune published Monday, the Milwaukee Bucks forward and former Duke star discusses his experience of growing up on the south side of Chicago. Parker pledges to help tackle gun violence and inequality in the city. The 2013-14 All-American says after finishing his NBA career, he plans to return to Duke to finish his degree and become a teacher.

Parker notes that his father, Sonny, seventh grade teacher, Ms. Reed, and former NBA player Juwon Howard—another Chicago native—helped inspire him to give back to the community. 

“I want to become a teacher after I get out of the league, and help show kids what my dad and Ms. Reed showed me: There’s more out there than the gangs, than the liquor stores, than the violence,” Parker writes. “Next year, I’m going to start taking summer classes and working toward getting my degree.”

Parker begins the column by describing a night when he experienced a drive-by shooting as an 18-year old. Gun violence, gang warfare and drugs were a constant threat during his childhood, he writes.

The 2014 No 2 overall draft pick admits that he was ready to leave the instability of Chicago to attend Duke after high school. He notes that many other people from the area don't get such chances to leave.

“When I had the opportunity, I decided to go to Duke. A massive campus in North Carolina? Green grass? And most importantly, not a single Illinois license plate?" he writes. "I would’ve gone the day I committed if I could have.”

Parker adds that his decision to leave Duke following his freshman year was difficult. He says he wanted to continue to take classes and fulfill his promise to his parents that he would receive his degree. But he writes that he could not pass up the NBA's financial opportunities.

For Parker, basketball and school were outlets that kept him away from the violence in Chicago. He says that he and Jahlill Okafor—another Chicago native, former Duke All-American and top-five NBA Draft pick who returned to school this summer—will try to work together to motivate young people in the area.

"Everybody in Chicago needs to do more, for these kids and our city. It’s something that Jahlil Okafor and I talk about all the time," Parker writes. "He’s a Chicago kid, too (although he went to a school with nice books). We say to each other, 'We gotta surprise people. We need to do something.'”

Okafor went to Whitney Young High School and Parker attended Simeon Career.

After attending the University for only one year, both Parker and Okafor will likely have to spend several years taking classes to complete their degrees. Gerald Henderson recently earned his Duke degree after leaving school early, but the shooting guard only had one year of school left to complete, not three.

The first high-profile one-and-done freshman with the Blue Devils, Kyrie Irving, said in 2011 he wanted to return to school to finish his degree within five years. After becoming an NBA All-Star, Irving's plans changed. He told The Chronicle last month that he's putting those plans on hold until after his professional career ends.

With Monday's column, Parker joins a string of former Blue Devils who have used the Player’s Tribune to present their thoughts and experiences.

In April, Brandon Ingram used the media outlet to announce his decision to declare for the NBA draft. Most recently in July, Lance Thomas wrote about his journey as professional basketball player and trying to play in the NBA.

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