This 24-year-old Filipino-American hoopster has made a name for himself in the NBA.
After breaking both personal and team records in the past two years, Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson re-signed a $50 million four-year contract with the Lakers last July.
In 2016’s Rising Star challenge, Clarkson felt the support of millions of Filipino fans around the world.
“It was just great…to be able to feel that love and support and finishing on the top,” said Clarkson. “This shows how much love and support the country got for basketball, as well as for myself, so decided to do my best to represent.”
The young Fil-Am athlete, who loves chicken adobo and sisig, always seems to carry a serious face — but he says there’s one thing that never fails to make him smile.
“I’m not the happiest guy all the time, but you know… seeing the Filipinos all the time, everybody’s always happy and smiling, so that’s probably the best thing that I could take… in all of that,” he laughed. “Probably the only time you see me with a smile on my face is when I’m here.”
As the Jordan Clarkson fan club was recently activated, the Philippine Consulate in New York opened its doors for fans to meet their NBA idol.
“He inspires me by following my dream of becoming a basketball player, and also to be like him,” said Riley Bautista, a young fan from New Jersey. “It means no matter how little you are, it doesn’t matter…keep following your dreams until you accomplish it.”
Even visiting Philippine Senator Alan Peter Cayetano is a proud fan of the Fil-Am Laker.
“When you see someone like Jordan Clarkson, who grew up with many struggles pero, always loves his parents, always acknowledges that he came from the Philippines, that he’s part Filipino…nag-struggle siya to play for the Philippine team despite maraming barriers, he’s still not giving up,” said Cayetano. “So I think he deserves our support.”
Clarkson is the second NBA player of Filipino descent, since Raymond Townsend in the 80’s.
Jordan’s father Mike and his half-Pinay mother, Annette Davis, met at the Kiesler US Air Force base in Biloxi, Mississippi in 1985.
Jordan’s father finds comfort that an entire country has his son’s back.
“Jordan has an entire country that supports him, that in itself is humbling,” he said. “In turn he understands the responsibility that goes along with it and that’s important… he’s gonna excel at whatever he does, but he’s gonna make sure the Filipino community is proud of what he does.”
Mike also shared his big dream for his 6’5 son Jordan.
“I want Jordan to be in the same position as Manny Pacquiao is in,” he said. “Manny Pacquiao inspired the masses, had a great career, and he’s still fighting but he had a great career. Jordan has that same opportunity to impact the masses to and to make a difference.”
With Jordan’s passion and talent for basketball, and with the support of Filipinos from around the world, the Fil-Am laker has an opportunity to make his and his father’s dream a reality.