Sophomore Jabari Bird of the California men’s basketball team is following in the footsteps of his father, Carl, a standout for the Golden Bears from 1974-76. The younger Bird, one of the nation’s top scholastic prospects of the 2013 class, recently completed his freshman season with the Golden Bears. He earned a starting role during the year and averaged nearly nine points per game, becoming one of the Bears’ top three-point shooters. Jabari’s father, Carl, was Cal’s leading scorer and co MVP of the 1975-76 season, averaging 15.2 ppg.
As we celebrate Father's Day on Sunday CalBears.com sits down with Jabari Bird, who shared his appreciation for everything his father has done to make him the person he is today. He even has a laugh over photos of his father during his days as a Golden Bear.
CalBears.com: What has your father meant to you both on and off the court?
Jabari Bird: My dad has meant so much to me both on and off the court. He has always been on top of whatever I do. He always wants to make sure I do well in school, that is most important. He made sure I did well in high school to make it here to a university like Cal.
On the court, he has been my biggest rival. We used to always compete in the backyard at home. He had a good career, playing here at Cal and going overseas and having a solid professional career. We had many battles in the backyard at home.
It has been a lot of fun having him in my life and I appreciate everything he has done for me.
CalBears.com: How has your father helped shape you as a basketball player?
Jabari Bird: He has helped me a lot. I try to mold my game after him. He was also a wing-type player who can shoot the ball. He was athletic as well. When we would play in the backyard, he would give me a lot of tips and pointers that has really helped my game.
CalBears.com: What does it mean to you to not only play close to home, but have your father in the stands at Haas Pavilion watching you play each game?
Jabari Bird: It is an honor. That is part of the reason why I decided to stay home and go to Cal. I want my family to see me. Having him and the rest of my family there to watch me play means so much to me.
CalBears.com: What do you think of the photos you have seen of your father playing here at Cal?
Jabari Bird: The photos that I saw of my dad playing here are pretty funny. He had a really big afro… way out there. That hair was crazy, I am glad he cut it. I sent him the photo when I saw it and asked him what he was doing with that hair back in the day. It was all fun and games. He laughed at is as well.
I am built like my dad too, it is funny to see we have the same build at the same age in college.
Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!