From Drugs And Violence To A Professional Basketball Player. The Incredible Story Of Deondre Parks.
The Edmonton Stingers recent phenomenon Deondre Parks just came off of a 30 point game against the Fraser Valley Bandits. The journey Parks set for himself has been quite successful for him as he managed to play for numerous teams since he started as a pro. However, what about before basketball? What was Deondre Park's journey like before basketball? This article is about the amazing, touching, inspirational story of Deondre parks and why basketball is so important to the fan favourite Stinger.
On October 30, 1992, Flint, Michigan and the rest of the world was gifted with an individual named Deondre Parks. While growing up in Michigan, life was difficult for Parks as he always felt trapped in his mind, which led him to feel lost. The emotion that Parks experienced when growing up can be a story of its own due to the hardships he had to go through. The emotion that is learned from his journey into this remarkable sport that cured him is the feeling of appreciation.
When Parks was a little boy, all he had was his mother, his siblings, and his stepfather who was in jail by the time he was six years old. While most kids his age were playing in the park or going to school, Parks had to worry about when his stepfather was going to come out of jail to reunite with him. However, before his stepfather went to prison, he made sure to explain the importance of life by, putting a basketball on his step-sons lap. The moment the ball touched Parks lap at the young age of 6, the innocence that Parks had during that age was incredible as he cried with the feeling of hope despite his stepfather heading to jail. At this point in Park's life, the basketball that touched him was a symbolic gesture and almost an Easter egg in his life, considering that, his entire basketball career is shaped by that very moment. His family was a significant factor, and a pivotal piece to Park's life as every decision he ever had to make in his career was shaped around his family. However, reality slowly started to hit for Parks as the days went on to years as he would go on a journey making difficult decisions.
After his stepfather went to jail, Parks spent most of his time on the streets not knowing what he wanted to do. Instead of worrying about his future, he focused on the present day while spending his days on the street where he would be introduced to drugs. Although he had school, Parks felt that the streets would have a more significant impact on his life than pursuing education due to, him not understanding the importance of it. That was the reality for most of the people who grow up on the streets because no one ever explained as to why it so important. Parks was lost during this time in his life; however, the one incredible gift that he had in his arsenal was, basketball. Throughout his journey on the streets, the memory of him sitting down with his stepfather at the age of 6, crying to him while holding the basketball would slowly start to come back as he was on pace to take this circular piece of rubber to the next level. Although Parks would be side-tracked or felt lost during his journey, he would always remember that moment in his life. With Parks having the right mindset and reminders, something suddenly changed in his system to start taking his basketball skill to the next level.
During the year 2007, Parks experienced a tragic loss that would forever change his life. The Parks family was shaken with fear and sadness when they discovered that one of their own was murdered. During this moment, with all the sorrow and anger erupting in Deondre's heart, he decided to channel all that emotion into productivity. With all that emotion circling his veins and arteries, basketball went from a fun sport to a career for Parks. With his older brother being murdered at the age of 15, Parks had to step up and be a role model for his younger siblings as he had to take the role of being a shield for his family. All the mistakes and drugs that Parks went through before his brother's horrific fate all of a sudden disappeared like dust as he finally discovered perspective. This element allowed Parks to use basketball as a way to pay respects to his brother and to also use it as motivation to work hard on playing the game. The emotional roller coaster that Parks and his family had to go through was life-changing for him as Parks would seek out to become a pro-basketball player.
Looking at Deondre Parks previous life before basketball entered his heart, his journey towards the game was something difficult to swallow. Whether it was his step-father going to jail at the age of 6 our his brother being murdered at the age of 15, Parks managed to handle a tragic situation and transform it into being a professional athlete. Without those hardships he faced growing up in Flint, Michigan, the world would of probably never have known the name Deondre Parks. With that being said, what was Deondre Parks experience as a pro?
Deondre Park's career as a pro basketball player started off with the Iowa Lakes Community College where he would average 15.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. His offence was strictly driving to the paint as he compares himself to NBA starting point guard Eric Bledsoe of the Milwaukee Bucks. However, in his Sophmore year with the Iowa Lakes Community College, he would average a monster stat line of, 20.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists while leading his team to a 23-9 record. This incredible accomplishment of leading his team to a record of 23-9 led him to be crowned the ICCAC Division ll All-Region first team. This milestone in Deondre's career led him to a new opportunity in his career as he transferred to South Dakota State.
Although his time with the Iowa Lakes Community College was an overall successful experience for his basketball career, his time with South Dakota transformed the entire landscape of his career. Parks managed to average 14.4 points and 4.3 rebounds for the Jackrabbits during his 2-year span with the organization. This stat-line was enough to grant Parks the honors of being named, All-Summit League first team and also Freshman of the year in 2015. The 2 years that Parks experienced with South Dakota was just the beginning for an unexpected professional career that awaited him.
Deondre Parks coming out of college was on pace to achieve great things in his basketball journey. In fact, Deondre Parks was so talented that he managed to make the summer league roster with the Denver Nuggets in 2016. According to Deondre Parks himself, he stated that he actually made the roster; however, something disrupted his chance of becoming an NBA player. During a practice, Deondre Parks went down with a terrible ankle injury which resulted in the Nuggets eventually dropping him when the season started. The unfortunate injury that Deondre Parks had would typically drive most professional basketball players into a deep hole of numerous emotions. However, for Deondre Parks, he decided to use hardship as fuel once again to work even harder to play his passion. Deondre Parks, as a result, decided to take his talents to the New Castle Eagles.
During his time with the New Castle Eagles, he would average 17.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. Looking at his stat line throughout the years, Parks was slowly making a name for himself as an all-around scorer. With averages of 41% from the 3-point range and 48% from the field, it is safe to say that Parks was one of the top scorers during his time with the Eagles. Deondre Parks enjoyed his time with the Eagles as that was the first team he ever played for as a professional basketball player. However, all good things have to come to a close as a new chapter entered his career in 2018 as he joined the BC Cactus Tbilisi.
Although Parks had a stellar statistical season with the New Castle Eagles, his career started to look brighter when he joined the BC Cactus Tbilisi. Parks averaged an impressive stat line of 20.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists as the starting point guard. 2018 was a memorable year for Parks as, not only did he achieve this amazing stat-line, but he was also named as an all-star for the Cypriot League which was the league that Parks played for. Not only was Parks named an All-Star, but he was also crowned as the top scorer in the Cypriot League which caught the eyes of the Proteas EKA. Deondre Parks had a momentous season in 2018 and is arguably the best season he has ever experienced since being a pro-basketball player.
The Proteas EKA season that Deondre Parks participated in earlier this year was the shortest season he has played so far in his career as he played 21 games as a starter. With the averages of 18.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4 assists, Parks started to look like an all-around player rather than scorer. With a career high in assists, Parks was starting to be viewed as a more of a play maker rather than just an all-around scorer. This incredible stat-line eventually landed him a spot with his current team, the Edmonton Stingers.
Deondre Parks started his life in a tough neighbourhood in Flint, Michigan, where he had to experience various acts of hardship. Whether it was his step-father going to jail when he was 6-years old or, suffering a traumatic incident of his older brother getting murdered, Parks always managed to stay focused. Flint, Michigan is not known for being a beautiful cozy area to live and instead has a reputation for violence and drugs, which is what Parks had to go through as a young teenager. However, as we all know today, Parks turned out to be a successful basketball player that will forever inspire the future generation of athletes to never give up on your goals and to appreciate every lesson that comes your way. Now that he is part of the Edmonton Stingers, he continues to work hard and put his body on the line to win any game. With all the hardships that Parks experienced throughout the years since he was born, the one thing that makes him unique is, that he appreciates everything that has ever happened to him and uses it as motivation to always look forward instead of looking back.