Former No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker is turning heads after taking some shots at the NBA.
The former phenom recently signed a one-year contract with FC Barcelona and when asked why he decided to join the EuroLeague rather than continue his NBA career, he didn't mince words.
"I just want to be a part of something legitimate. I want to be a part of [a league where] ‘every game matters.' Sadly, the NBA is a business and there are 10-12 teams that try to win every game and the other half try to get a draft pick," Parker told EuroHoops. "Where does that leave good players? You either have to be super good or bad to lose games. It’s no excuse to see DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard or John Wall, guys who are potentially going into the Hall of Fame… not have a job.
"We are seeing the league getting watered down, unfortunately. It’s a lot of things that are out of our control. EuroLeague and the fans are expecting a lot, and we as players expect a lot from ourselves and we want to compete."
Parker didn't stop there. He also argued that EuroLeague rosters might be better than NBA rosters from top to bottom since there are more veterans.
"Euroleague might have, arguably, some of the better players consistently on a team," Parker said. "In the NBA, you have a lot of counterparts that don’t really contribute to a talent, maybe [it's] political, maybe a favor, whatever. Out here, you have to play; you have to be able to be good, you have to have some experience and you see it with teams like us: [Alex] Abrines played with OKC, Jan [Vesely] played in the Wizards, Sato (Tomas Satoransky)…
"This is not like baseball where you have veterans that stay on a team; there is no minor league. Where is the room for experienced guys and veterans [on NBA rosters]? That arguably says that you do have some better talent [in the EuroLeague], just from the experience. If you have a roster full of guys that have been pro for 10-plus years, how are rookies or two-year guys exceeding them? You see that around Europe, with many other teams, not only ourselves. Real Madrid has some really good guys on their team too."
Parker's last NBA stint came to an end in January of 2022, when he was waived by the Boston Celtics. Rather than continuing to wait on an NBA call, Parker decided to sign abroad instead.
"I knew I wanted to play this season and I didn’t want to wait," Parker explained. "I didn’t want to have to go through the extenuating process of trying to figure out an NBA team that was going to take a chance on me.
"As soon as we had the conversations with [FC Barcelona director] Mario Bruno Fernández, I got down here. They pretty much gave me an offer that I couldn’t refuse. I decided this was the best place for me."
Parker has suited up for six NBA teams: the Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings and Celtics.
Throughout his eight-year NBA career, the 28-year-old averaged 14.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.9 steals while shooting 49.4% from the field, 32.6% from three-point range and 74.3% from the free-throw line.