Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson is a Filipino-American, and has carried a Philippine passport since he was 12-years-old.
In the past he has expressed interest in playing for Gilas Philipinas, the Philippines men’s national basketball team, but due to scheduling conflicts with the Lakers he was unable to play in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship.
Clarkson was initially included on the Philippines 17-man roster for the final Olympic Qualifying Tournament for the 2016 Rio Olympics, but the team instead decided to go with former NBA veteran Andray Blatche as its naturalized player due to the team’s lack of size.
With the Southeast Asia Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship, which serves as qualifier to the Fiba Asia Cup this August in Beirut, Lebanon, just around the corner, Clarkson is again attempting to play for Gilas Pilipinas.
According to Gerry Ramos of Spin.ph, Clarkson’s father said that they are just waiting on FIBA’s approval:
“We don’t necessarily know where Fiba is in its decision-making process. But given the green light to play, Jordan will be there to play. And we look forward to that,” the elder Clarkson related to SPIN.ph during a meet-and-greet event featuring the Lakers star player recently held in Los Angeles.
Clarkson’s father added that his son definitely wants to play for the Philippines national team:
“Jordan has reached out to them and let them know he’s very interested in being an active part of the Gilas program,” he said of the Lakers stalwart, who has visited the country in the past and even attended several Gilas practices.
Clarkson is coming off his third season with the Lakers, in which he played all 82 games for the first time in his career, averaging 14.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists while shooting 44.5 percent from the field.
Playing for Gilas Pilipinas could help Clarkson gain valuable international experience that he could bring back to the NBA to improve his game, should FIBA approve his request to play for his family’s native country.