Bucks’ Jabari Parker named Baird Community Involved Athlete of the Year, Award to be presented at Wisconsin Sports Awards

The Wisconsin Sports Awards and Baird are pleased to announce Milwaukee Bucks’ Jabari Parker as this year’s Baird Community Involved Athlete of the Year. The award will be presented at the 5th Annual Wisconsin Sports Awards on April 12 in Kohler, Wis.

Parker, the Bucks’ first round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, serves as the spokesman for the “Be in School” campaign – a joint initiative between the Bucks and Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) to improve school attendance among Milwaukee students. Parker’s commitment to education began at a young age, completing his homework before competing in fall league games and maintaining a 3.6 GPA while still improving on the court, ultimately landing him at Duke University.

According to MPS, chronic absenteeism can be life-altering. Studies show that missing one day each month during the first semester of high school can reduce the likelihood of graduating to 63 percent. Parker encourages kids to own their future and stay in school, one day at a time. Beyond the campaign’s rhetoric, Parker treats select students who have great attendance to dinner, and makes surprise visits to schools with overall improvement.

“In every aspect of life, success comes to those who show up every day willing to work hard,” Parker said. “You can’t learn if you aren’t in school. It’s my hope that every MPS student will realize the importance of making every day count.”

In recognition of his contributions to MPS, the Baird Foundation will donate $5,000 to fund this initiative in Parker’s name.

“We are pleased to present the Baird Community Involved Athlete of the Year Award to Jabari Parker in recognition of all he does to encourage MPS students,” said Erik Dahlberg, Regional Director, Baird Private Wealth Management. “Baird has a culture and long-standing tradition of giving back to the communities in which we live and work, and we applaud Jabari for his efforts to make a positive impact on the young students in our community.”

“Basketball is what I do, but I’m still a human being at the end of the day,” he said. “A wise man once told me ‘either build or destroy’ – so I’m just trying to be as positive as possible to try to move and motivate people like they did for me when I was a kid.”

This is the fifth year Baird has presented the Community Involved Athlete of the Year award in partnership with the Wisconsin Sports Awards. Former winners of this award include Jonathan Lucroy, Brandon Jennings, Aaron Rodgers and A.J. Hawk.

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