Jahlil Okafor may play for the Philadelphia 76ers, but he reps Chicago through and through — returning home this summer to help make change in the violence plague city.
Hoping to change the city’s reputation — Okafor is doing his part by “changing the conversation.”
He hates that Chicago’s rep is being tarnished by rampant violence. So to understand how he can help, he’s drawing inspiration from other notable Chicago natives who have made a difference in their hometown.
“There are guys like Chance the Rapper, I’m a big fan of his. Jabari Parker, Anthony Davis, Dwyane Wade,” says Okafor. “There’s just a bunch of people that I know that are doing positive things for the city. That doesn’t get shown enough.”
He’s beginning to do his part. He’s back in town to pick up an award from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago, a major off-the-court milestone he hopes to replicate in Philadelphia. One of his fondest memories from this past season last December, the day before his 20th birthday. The Sixers were in town to play the Bulls and Okafor treated 100 kids to an afternoon of running around a local gym where they “listened to music [and] all got free haircuts. It was really fun.”
Okafor averaged 17.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game last season, and for the record says he’s excited to play with Ben Simmons.