Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:15 pm
An enthusiastic crowd of about 300 championship-starved Milwaukee Bucks fans welcomed Jabari Parker to Milwaukee today at a press conference held at the Milwaukee Public Market in the city’s Historic Third Ward.
The Bucks selected Parker, a 19-year-old forward from Duke University, Thursday night with the second pick in the NBA Draft.
Bucks General Manager John Hammond and Coach Larry Drew said Parker was at the top of the team’s draft board. When the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Andrew Wiggins from Kansas with the first pick of the draft, the Bucks had the opportunity to get Parker.
“This is a great opportunity for us an as organization to have a player like this,” Hammond said.
“We got the man that we really wanted,” Drew said. “We really did. We got a piece that is going to help take us to the next level.”
Parker said he is glad to be part of an organization that was upfront with him about wanting him so badly.
“The organization was all in,” he said. “I’m really gratified to be with a team that embraces me.”
Parker, a Chicago native, reiterated comments he made Thursday that he hoped to spend his entire NBA career in Milwaukee.
“I don’t look forward to leaving anytime soon,” he said. “If I just looked at this as a short term deal things won’t work out.”
“Jabari Parker welcomed the idea of being a Milwaukee Buck,” Hammond said.
At 6-foot-8 Parker has good size and is known as a prolific offensive player who can score in a variety of ways.
But even more than his basketball skills, Hammond and Drew raved about Parker’s character.
“One part is Jabari Parker the player. But I think more important in the long run is Jabari Parker the man and what he stands for,” Hammond said.
“When I had an opportunity to meet him, (I realized) this is a fine young man,” Drew said. “This is a humble young man who is driven. I knew this is a guy who we wanted here. This city will be very proud to have a guy like Jabari Parker here.”
Parker comes to the Bucks at a critical time in the history of the franchise. The team was recently sold by Sen. Herb Kohl to hedge fund manager Marc Lasry and Wes Edens, the founder of a private equity firm. The NBA insists that a new arena needs to be built in Milwaukee for the team to remain in the city. Lasry and Edens are working to add additional investors to the team’s ownership, develop plans for a new arena and turn the team itself around.
“This is a new day in Bucks basketball,” Hammond said. “(Lasry and Edens) are going to do great things for this organization and great things for this city. We are in great hands moving forward. I want everyone to know that.”