She typed in the name "Deandra Favors'' in February at her family's suburban Denver home. But this time she actually found something.
A woman by that name popped up in an article about how her son, Derrick Favors, had enrolled at Georgia Tech the previous fall as a star-studded freshman for the basketball team. The article included a picture of Deandra Favors.
Deborah Parker immediately went to her husband, Johnnie Parker, to ask if this was indeed the woman the two had been looking for since the mid-1990s.
Yes, it was. Johnnie Parker had found his son.
"I was happy, surprised and hurt at the same time,'' Parker said. "I missed his whole high-school career. It was kind of a down feeling, if you know what I'm saying. In between happy, sad and hurt at the same time. ... But, if Derrick wasn't doing what he's doing now, I wouldn't have found him.''
What Favors, 19, is doing now is embarking on an NBA career with the New Jersey Nets after being the No. 3 overall pick in last month's draft. The 6-foot-10 forward will start a basketball season this fall for the first time knowing who his father is and believing he inherited some talent from Parker, who was a high school star in St. Louis before signing in 1976 with St. Louis University, where he averaged 10.3 points as a freshman.
After Parker had learned the identity of his son, he contacted FanHouse, which had done a story on Favors in January. In the story, Favors mentioned he didn't know anything about his father, not even his name.
Parker wanted to tell his tale about how Favors had been born in Atlanta on July 15, 1991, to Deandra Favors, a single mother, and how Parker was the father. The two had an affair when both were working at Sky Chefs for Eastern Airlines, and Parker was married to Deborah, his wife of 24 years who says she long has forgiven him for his infidelity.
Favors was conceived in the fall of 1990. But on Jan. 18, 1991, Eastern Airlines went out of business, and both Parker, a caterer, and Deandra Favors, a food preparer, lost their jobs and dispersed.
Parker said Deandra Favors told him she was pregnant shortly before the airline folded and that she would have the baby. After the jobs were lost, Parker said he was overcome by guilt at having a child out of his marriage and didn't try to contact her for more than three months.
Parker said he never was able to find Deandra Favors after that. He never knew for sure the child had been born until his wife found the story on Favors and his mother earlier this year.
"It's a dream that I still haven't woken up yet that I have found my son,'' said Parker, a musician who plays guitar and sings in the Denver-area band Burnin' Tuesday under the alter ego Rev. Nastee Waters. "I just want to know my son and he knows me. ... I can't do anything about the past. I screwed that up. But I can do something about the future, being the father I missed out on being.''
In phone interviews from Atlanta in May, Deandra Favors confirmed the story Parker told about the two having worked at Sky Chefs and having a relationship, confirmed the father's name as "John Parker'' and his height at 6-foot-8. But she didn't even know he had once played basketball.
"Why is he contacting me now?'' asked Deandra Favors, who said she had been getting messages on her Facebook page that Parker sent after he learned of her whereabouts and the identify of his son. "It's 2010. What about 2009, 2008 and 2007? ... When Eastern Airlines went under in 1991, I didn't see him after that. But he knew that I was pregnant, but he never knew that I actually had the baby. I never heard from him. And now he wants to contact us. ... Derrick doesn't need anything from (Parker).''
But Derrick Favors did not paint that picture when speaking to FanHouse earlier this month at the AirTran Orlando Pro Summer League, where he averaged 10.6 points and 6.8 rebounds for the Nets. Early in the summer league, FanHouse gave Favors a packet, which included photos of his father from his days as a player and from this year, as well as a sealed letter from Parker, which included his contact information.
It also included information on how Favors could find his father as Rev. Nastee Waters on YouTube. He has up a video entitled "Medical Marijuana,'' an ode to the legalization of it in Colorado, something supported by Parker, who has pictures of marijuana leaves on the walls of his home. He has put up cover versions of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Run Through the Jungle'' and Jimi Hendrix's "Hey Joe.''
Derrick Favors is soft-spoken by nature. Although his answers often were short, he did not seem bothered discussing having learned the identity of his father.
"It's all right,'' he said. "I'm just trying not to force it. It will probably take time (to some day meet Parker). ... I might (reach out to him) one day, yeah. ... To finally find out about him, I'll probably get around one day to meeting him.''
Favors said he actually wasn't surprised to learn of his father wanting to contact him.
"I thought that he would get around one day to me,'' Favors said. "Just happy to find out about him. ... It ain't weird. It's something that comes along with life.''
While he was growing up, Favors said he never asked his mother about his father and didn't know anything about him. His mother, 45, who has remained unmarried and also has a daughter, Tiffany, 25, and a son Brandon, 10, from other relationships, said she at one point provided his father's name to Derrick.
"Some things go in one ear and out the other,'' said Deandra Favors, who works now as an office assistant in Atlanta and was said by her son to have worked two or three jobs when he was growing up to support him.
Favors recently signed a contract that will pay him a guaranteed $8.6 million over his first two NBA seasons. But he doesn't believe his new-found riches is why his father is contacting him.
"No, I don't feel that way,'' he said. "I just feel like it's going to take time (before any relationship is formed).''
Time is something Parker says he has in his hope to meet his fifth and youngest child. He has two children from his marriage to Deborah and two from a previous marriage, including Johnnie Parker, who played basketball for Missouri from 1997-2001 before becoming a pro overseas.
"I could wait for as long as he wants,'' said Parker, who said he plans to attend New Jersey's one regular-season game next season at Denver, the date of which won't be set until next month, but would just watch from the stands if Favors is not ready by then for a meeting. "I wouldn't want to just walk up to him and introduce myself. I don't know how he would take that. I'll probably just sit back and wait.''
Parker, 53, understands there might be a perception this is another story about a father who disappears only to show up after his son has tapped into NBA riches. But Parker insists it's not like that.
"Of course, everybody is going to think that I came back because he's going to get some money,'' said Parker, who lives in a modest house in Aurora and says, even though his wife was laid off last fall from a bank position, he does enough gigs with Burnin' Tuesday to make ends meet. "I know everybody is looking at me that way, and that hurts too.
"But it has nothing to do with it. If he was broke on his (butt) in this street, I would still feel the same way. ... If somebody asks him about me now, at least he can say my name and he knew that I was a ballplayer too, and know where he got his talent from.''
Parker was named first-team All-St. Louis in 1976 at Central High School. A product of the freewheeling times, he had a big Afro and won a local slam-dunk contest before enrolling at St. Louis University.
Parker moved into the starting lineup as a freshman. He played center and power forward, utilizing a nifty hook shot and shot-blocking ability.
"In college, I played against Larry Bird when he was at Indiana State,'' Parker said. "I thought I was pretty good (guarding him). I'm pretty sure he remembered me.''
Bird, speaking in Orlando, said he doesn't remember playing against Parker, who actually wasn't all that good in two games against Indiana State. With the Sycamores winning 77-72 in Parker's freshman year and 84-68 when he was a sophomore, Bird averaged 28.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in the two games to Parker's 4.5 points and 3.5 rebounds.
Shortly after the second meeting in December 1977, Parker left St. Louis to transfer to Austin Peay, although he wouldn't play in a game there and eventually would finish at Missouri State. Parker said a disagreement with St. Louis coach Ron Coleman led to his exit, which included Parker claiming he had a back injury despite assurances by team officials he was fine. Parker said the back injury later ended his basketball career after an up-and-down tenure at Missouri State.
"For sure, I would have been (a pro),'' Parker said of had he not gotten hurt.
By the early 1980s, Parker had ended up in Denver with Sky Chefs, and he was transferred to Atlanta in 1989. That's where he would have a relationship with Deandra Favors even though he had been married to Deborah since 1986.
Parker said Deandra Favors told him in January 1991 she was three months pregnant. He asked if she wanted to keep the child, and she told him yes.
"I told her it was going to be hard for me to be around,'' he said. "She knew I was married.''
Days later, Eastern Airlines folded. After Jan. 18, 1991, Parker never would see Deandra Favors again even though he had parted by saying he would be "back around.''
Parker said he eventually lost her phone number and that three or four months went by before he went to her Atlanta apartment and knocked on the door. Nobody answered.
"I had messed up,'' Parker said of why he didn't come around for so long. "I had a wife and children and I didn't want to mess that up. I was scared of losing my own family.''
After the first failed attempt, Parker said he later went back to the apartment, and again found nobody home. Parker was asked why he didn't at least leave a note.
"I didn't know if there was another man living there or what,'' Parker said. "Then later a guy I knew that had known her said she had moved.''
Parker ended up with some other problems that year. The back pain that had ended his basketball career resurfaced and Parker was found to have a tumor on his spine. He ended up temporarily paralyzed from the waist down, and it would be nine months before he would recover and walk again.
Deborah Parker said she had suspicions in the early 1990s about her husband having an affair, but mostly got denials when confronting him. Finally, five years after Favors' birth, Parker decided to come clean and tell everything that had happened with Deandra Favors.
"Guilt, man,'' he said. "I wanted to be free from it. I wanted to bring some closure to it. I wanted to know my son. I knew I had to tell her in order to make this move (to find his child).''
Deborah Parker was crushed when she learned everything. But she didn't leave her husband.
"Of course, it was very hurtful,'' she said. "But we've always been best friends so we were able to work through it. Back when the affair was going on, I kind of suspected something was going on. But all of the details didn't come out until 1996.''
Deborah Parker decided to work with her husband in trying to find Deandra Favors and the child Parker had said he had fathered. She had an office job in Atlanta, and occasionally would check the Internet.
"That's when I started looking for her,'' she said of 1996, when the Internet was in its infancy. "After my husband had given me the details, there was a child out there that, of course, I wanted to know what had happened to.''
Parker said he's always been mostly computer illiterate, and his wife helps him even now. So his role during that time pretty much consisted of asking around and checking phone books for a Deandra Favors listing. He found nothing.
The family in 2001 moved back to the Denver area, where Deborah Parker is from and where the two originally had met. The two children the couple had together are son Jevon, now 23, and daughter Aceila, 22. In addition to Johnnie Parker, 32, Parker has a son Jamaal, 30, from his first marriage. And Deborah Parker has a son, Adriel Neal, 29, from a first marriage.
The family had never owned a computer back then. So Deborah Parker spent the years on and off looking up Deandra Favors when she was at the library or had some spare time at work.
But all searches continued to come up empty. And even though Favors developed into one of the top players in the country at South Atlanta High School, his name wasn't known to John and Deborah Parker. It wasn't known if the child was a boy or a girl or even if the child had been born in the first place.
"I know in my heart (the child had been born),'' Parker said.
Finally, last year the Parkers got their first home computer. The timing was good since Favors began to be written about plenty as a Georgia Tech freshman who would go on to average 12.4 points and 8.4 rebounds and be named ACC Rookie of the Year.
The big day came came in February when Deborah Parker found the picture of Deandra Favors on the Internet that accompanied the article on her son.
"I had never seen her picture before so when it popped up, I said to my husband. 'Is this her?'' she said. "When he said, 'yes,' I said, 'This is your son.' I was hurt from my perspective but it was also a relief because we finally knew the name of the son and who he was.''
There was still some work to be done in the household, though. None of Parker's other children ever had been told there was a sibling somewhere out there.
"I first found out when my dad showed me the picture on the computer and said, 'That's your brother,''' Aceila said of last February. "I was pretty sad (at first hearing about the child born out of Parker's infidelity). But what he did, I forgive him. It was in the past. I was just happy to know that I have a baby brother. I do wish to get to know him. I've got five brothers now so I want to meet him.''
The Parkers don't have cable television. So the first time they saw Favors play was March 21, when the Yellow Jackets lost 75-66 to Ohio State in a second-round NCAA Tournament game televised by CBS. In what would be his final college game, Favors totaled 10 points and four rebounds.
"It hurt because the only way I could see my son was on the damn TV screen,'' Parker said. "I was happy and hurt at the same time that everybody could get to my child except me.''
The child had grown up in Atlanta, raised by his mother with help from Deandra Favors' mother, Eurma Favors. Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt lauded the job the single mother did in raising Favors, saying he grew up to be "a hard worker, humble and a high achiever.''
"She kept me at home going to work every day, working two or three jobs,'' said Favors, who said his very religious mother taught him never to get "big-headed'' because then "God will take things from you.''
Favors developed into one of the most highly recruited prospects in the country as a high school senior, leading South Atlanta to the Class AAA Georgia state championship and being named MVP of the McDonald's All-American Game. Favors also didn't let his studies lag, having a 3.3 grade-point average and making the honor roll at South Atlanta.
"I'm very proud of him,'' Deandra Favors said. "He really has turned out well. ... I like to think that God watched over me and gave me strength. It was never easy.''
With all the work she did to raise Favors as a single mother, it's understandable Deandra Favors has been suspicious about Parker looking to be involved with Favors' life. Parker didn't help his cause last spring when he sent several messages to Deandra Favors' Facebook account.
"The one he sent me that really made me mad was one that said, 'Has God spoken to you about who Derrick's father is? Do you know who your father is?''' she said.
Parker, who said he didn't get any Facebook responses from Deandra Favors nor any from when he had sent messages to accounts he believe belong to Favors and a girlfriend of his, admitted to being overzealous at times after first learning Favors is his son. He said he is now willing to be patient, and has contemplated the chance Favors eventually might decide he doesn't want to be close with his father.
"If I could get a chance to shake his hand just one time, I'd be happy,'' Parker said. "As long as he knows that I'm his father, I'm happy with that.''
Favors, though, isn't closing the door yet on one day having a relationship with Parker.
"I probably got some of that from him,'' Favors said of Parker's basketball talent after having looked at photos of his father from his college playing days. "Just finally getting a chance to see (photos of Parker) ... it was cool. It was straight. ... (Favors will reach out to his father) just when I get ready to. ... I don't know (when). Only time will tell.''
Parker is resigned to the fact it will take time. He waited more than 18 years just to know the identity of his child, and now he's prepared to continue to wait for a meeting that may or not ever come.