Bird, the son of former Golden Bear star Carl Bird, cancelled his remaining recruiting trips before announcing his decision. The shooting guard also had been considering Washington, Oregon and Colorado.
"It's the hometown school," Bird said. "It's been one of my favorites for a long time. It's perfect right now."
California coach Mike Montgomery has to be quietly hoping that Bird's decision is the catalyst for what's to come. Ranked No. 20 by ESPN, Bird could be a pied piper for other recruits.
During his official visit to Berkeley over the weekend, Bird was on campus with two other elite prospects. Power forward Aaron Gordon (San Jose, Calif./Bishop Mitty) and forward Marcus Lee (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) are prime Cal targets.
"I'm trying to get Marcus Lee and Aaron Gordon and maybe a few other guys from SoCal," Bird said. "We can be the top class in 2013 if they all decided to come."
Bird was a must-sign for California, given his background. Bird's father was a standout scorer in the mid-1970s for the Golden Bears. During his official visit, Jabari encountered fans of his father.
"People would come up to me and say they remembered my dad and how good of a scorer he was," Bird said.
A state champion last year, Bird and Gordon helped their Nike travel team to the July EYBL championship.