Jordan Clarkson will be joining Gilas Pilipinas, the Philippines National Basketball team, in their coming International tournaments and a possible championship bid at the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
The sophomore point guard of the Los Angeles Lakers has already confirmed to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, the governing body of the sport in the Philippines, that he will be committing to the team until 2024.
Clarkson, who was born in the U.S. to a Filipino mother, has met with SBP chair Ricky Vargas and PLDT PBA board member Pato Gregorio to confirm that he is “all in.”
“He’s not in the Philippines to play basketball as a mercenary. His commitment is beyond basketball, he wants to impart his self-discipline, his concern for winning,” Vargas told Inquirer.net.
The 2015 NBA All Rookie First Team member also told the executives that he is looking to play for the Philippines “in 2016, 2020 and 2024, because I am only 23.”
As for Vargas and Gregorio, they will be flying to the United States this week to meet with Clarkson’s father, Mike, to make sure that Gilas Pilipinas will be taking care of the budding NBA star.
“Our talk with the father is to reassure him that, from the time that he (Jordan) has not signed the contract to the time that he does, and if he gets injured while with Gilas, we will assure them that during period that he will be properly taken cared of,” Vargas explained, quotes another Inquirer.net report.
“We will be taking a risk anyway, whether he has a contract or not.”
As for the Lakers, the NBA team has given their promising point guard the green light to play for the Philippines in the upcoming FIBA Asia championships 2015.
John Black, vice-president for public relations of the Lakers, has confirmed to Manila Bulletin that Clarkson may take part in the tournament later this month given that he will be back in LA for the team’s training camp which kicks off on September 28.
“Per the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and the Player’s Association, as long as national team play does not interfere with team requirements and there are no injury issues, it is up to the players whether or not to play,” Black said in an email to the site.
“Our players must be in Los Angeles on September 28, so as long as he would be back by then, we would have no objection to Jordan playing in the event up until that date.”
Should all documents be ironed out before FIBA Asia kicks off, Clarkson may join the team for their first three games before flying out to join the Lakers.
Meanwhile, it was recently reported that Jeremy Lin may also join Chinese Taipei in FIBA Asia. However, the player has not made any comments on the issue.