By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News North America Bureau
Sept. 30, 2014
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – With most of the attention on the team’s high-profile stars, Los Angeles Lakers rookie Jordan Clarkson was still all smiles as the squad held their media day at the team’s practice facility.
“It feels good,” said Clarkson, a second-round pick in the NBA Draft. “I know I still got a lot of work to do just coming into training camp, trying to get a significant role. I’m just going to put my best foot forward and hope for the best.”
Clarkson’s mother, Annette Davis, was born in Angeles City in the Philippines, and since he was drafted, the combo-guard has embraced his historic achievement as the first Filipino-American player to be drafted into the NBA in 35 years.
He joins a Lakers squad coming off one of the worst seasons in team history, winning only 27 games in their previous campaign.
“I think we’re going to have a good season,” Clarkson said. “Kobe (Bryant) is amazing, you got (Steve) Nash coming back as well, so I think we’re going to have a good year.”
“I’m just ready to come in here, grind and compete out on the floor. Every time, we’ll come out and play,” he said.
Playing time may not come easy for Clarkson, however. While he backs up Nash and Bryant, the Lakers have also acquired another Asian-American point guard, Jeremy Lin.
Clarkson said he will do his best to prove his worth to the Lakers.
“I’m a rookie coming in here. I’m just trying to prove myself. I’m going to do what I do best and try my hardest,” he said.
Clarkson admits he hasn’t found Filipino food yet on the west side of Los Angeles, but the 22-year-old guard who grew up in Texas is enjoying his new life in California.
“I love it out here. You can’t beat the weather. It’s a beautiful place to be out here. It’s not hard to get up here to go to work,” he said.
He is also looking forward to playing with Bryant, who is making his return after an injury-plagued season last year.
“I got a chance to play with Kobe on Monday when he was in the gym. He looks great,” said Clarkson. “Just being able to be around those guys this season is going to be a real help for me.”
Clarkson and the Lakers take the court next week for their pre-season games. The regular season begins on October 28.
You can contact Steve Angeles at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.