Los Angles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson has had himself quite the summer between his trips to Hong Kong and the Philippines to basketball camps in Texas and St. Louis and supporting the Special Olympics. After over a week in Las Vegas for NBA Summer League, Clarkson even made his way over to the Bahamas for some rest and relaxation and to support former NBA champion, Mychal Thompson who was honored with a street in his name.
Clarkson also attended the Drew League Championship game this summer (where he saw his current teammate, Nick Young and M.H.P. lose to James Harden and LA UNFD), and loved it so much that he plans to play in it next year. The 23-year-old also attended his first baseball game this summer, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Dodger Stadium and even had time to catch up with Lakers Nation about his love for the Philippines, playing alongside D’Angelo Russell in the backcourt, and hoping to work out with Kobe Bryant this summer. Plus, he relives the angriest he’s ever seen his head coach Byron Scott and even relates the Drake/Meek Mill beef to basketball.
Q: We see you’ve been traveling a lot, update us what you’ve been up to this summer?
Clarkson: I did my trip to Hong Kong, did my trip to the Philippines, went to Toronto for a little while, threw a camp in St. Louis, back at school, now I’m here in LA for a good amount of time, unless I go back to the Philippines in a little while, that’s kind of been my summer. Now, getting ready for training camp.
Q: Fans in the Philippines seem to absolutely love you! What were the fans like out in the Philippines compared to all of your fans out here in Los Angeles?
Clarkson: That place felt like a second home. I’ve got Filipino blood, so we look out and support each other. It was an amazing culture, a lot different than here. It’s so crazy, it actually [makes you] looks at how blessed we are and how blessed they are. They live, the way they live and they’re still happy and they love it. It was just an amazing feeling. It was so real, I couldn’t even explain it.
Q: Coolest thing about your experience in the Philippines?
Clarkson: Probably the coolest thing was I went to a local housing project (in Taguig) and played in some pick up games with them and ran on the court. Then we threw a camp out there (in Tondo, Manila) and ran a camp with Trey Burke with NBA Cares. That was probably the best time I had over there, through everything. And then, I got a chance to go back to where my mom was from which was Pampanga, and got to see where she was from.
Q: I caught up with Steve Nash last weekend who really raved about your work ethic and personality. Have you gotten a chance to work out with Steve Nash this summer?
Clarkson: Nah, but hopefully I do. He lives out here in LA now, so he’s always on call. I’m able to text him any time I want to. It’s pretty dope to have a future Hall of Famer and two-time MVP to have on your phone, I never would have imagined that as a kid!
Q: We saw you working out with Julius Randle the other day… I’ve seen you with Gary Harris, too – Give us a rundown of who you’ve been working out with this summer:
Clarkson: Of course, I’ve been in there with our guys, D’Angelo (Russell), Anthony Brown, Larry (Nance, Jr.), Julius (Randle), Gary Harris, Jabari (Brown) was with me in St. Louis. I’ve been with Anthony Bennett, Dwight Powell, as well. Just kind of getting different looks. I watched Wigs (Andrew Wiggins) work out one time, and worked out right after him. And, of course Nick (Young).
Q: Any plans to head down to Orange County and work out with Kobe Bryant this summer?
Clarkson: Yeah, no doubt if I get a call, I’ll definitely reach out to him and see when he’s doing that. I’ll make the drive, hopefully it happens.
Q: You mentioned working out with D’Angelo, have you two worked out together since Summer League?
Clarkson: No, not on the court. I took some time off as well, once the season was over. I’m waiting for him to get back. I know that rookie transition, he’s biting at the bit to get back in the gym! I just can’t wait to get back in the gym with everybody.
Q: Mitch Kupchak recently made a comment (on Sirius XM NBA Radio) that he envisions you and D’Angelo Russell being the backcourt of this team for 10-12 years, which is a pretty big statement. What was your reaction?
Clarkson: If Mitch believes in us, we’re definitely trying to make that happen. We’ve got to put our best foot forward if he believes in us like that and continue to work hard and put in great effort. Coach Scott ain’t no easy guy to play for, so you’ve got to leave it all on the line when you play for him! So, we’ve just got to work hard and get better everyday and hopefully bring wins to the organization.
Q: In another interview, you basically said Byron Scott’s a cool guy, as long as you don’t do anything to really mess around, otherwise angry Byron comes out. What’s the angriest you’ve seen Byron?
Clarkson: I think it was the game, when we played the Denver Nuggets and Ty Lawson, when I said it was my ‘Welcome to the NBA moment.’ I think he wanted to take my jersey off my back that game, so I never wanted to see him like that ever again! Never again!
*Note: Jordan Clarkson’s referring to when he had the defensive assignment of guarding Ty Lawson and Scott pulled him with 1:11 in the game and subbed in Jeremy Lin. Needless to say Byron Scott was not happy, here’s Scott talking about it after that game.
Q: Last one’s just a fun one for you, since I see you talking about this on Twitter, what are your thoughts on Meek Mill/ Drake?
One of Drake’s best friends, Niko, is a real good friend of mine, so I’m not siding but Drake kind of put it to rest a little bit. We haven’t heard nothing yet. It’s cool though, it’s almost like basketball, when guys are going at it. Like watching the Drew League when Nick (Young) and James (Harden) are going at it, it’s like one of those things. It definitely gets people into the music and it’s cool to see that!