By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
July 8, 2014
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – After a morning practice session in preparation for the NBA Summer League, Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak gave Filipino American Jordan Clarkson something many have dreamed of –a Los Angeles Lakers jersey.
“It’s a blessing to be part of one go the most established franchises,” said Clarkson as he addressed media for the first time.
Last month, the Filipino American guard who played for Missouri State University was the second round draft choice of the Los Angeles Lakers, making him the third Filipino to be drafted by the NBA and first since Ray Townsend and Ricardo Brown were drafted in 1978 and 1979, respectively.
Townsend lasted four seasons while Brown never played in the NBA, but went on to a Hall of Fame career in the Philippines.
“It’s a great feeling knowing I got the country behind me. It feels great. That’s also driving me to being one of the first, I’m just trying to make my mark here, find a significant role,” Clarkson told Balitang America as he was swarmed by other media.
Clarkson’s mother was born in Angeles City. He was born in the US, grew up in Texas, and is proud of his Philippine roots.
Though he hasn’t visited, he was in contact with the Philippine national team.
“I’m trying to go visit soon (sic). I still eat some Filipino food, my mother grandmother always makes cool stuff like that(sic) lumpia, that’s my go to,” he added.
The 22-year-old Fil-Am will have a chance to play with and learn from future Hall of Fame guards Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, a prospect that excites the young rookie.
Originally projected as a first round draft pick, he slipped during the draft until the Lakers traded for him in the middle of the second round. Clarkson says that teams passing up on him gives him extra motivation.
Clarkson and other Laker rookies and hopefuls will head to Las Vegas this week for the NBA’s summer league.
You can contact Steve Angeles at email@example.com for more information
Try singing Karaoke or dancing if you didn’t make the roster.