NBA permits Jordan Clarkson to play in Asian Games

Fil-Am point guard to join Team Philippines after delay in approval from the NBA

The NBA decided on Tuesday, August 14 that Jordan Clarkson of the Cleveland Cavaliers may play for the Philippines in the 2018 Asian Games after previously ruling that NBA players couldn’t participate in the multi-sport event.

Twenty-six-year-old Clarkson, who is part Filipino on his mother’s side, was granted a “special exception” to represent the Philippines along with two Chinese NBA players, Zhou Qi of the Houston Rockets and Ding Yanyuhang of the Dallas Mavericks, in this year’s Asian Games, which will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia.

In an agreement with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), the NBA said that its players may partake in the Olympics, the FIBA Basketball World Cup the Continental Cup and other associated tournaments, but the Asian Games are not one of them.

However, the NBA said in a statement that “due to lack of clear communication of that agreement between the NBA and the Chinese and Philippines Basketball Federations, and after further discussions with both Federations, the NBA has agreed to provide this one-time exception.”

The NBA’s decision to allow Clarkson, who was on the Los Angeles Lakers from 2014-2018, to play in the games is historic; since its origin in 1951, no NBA player has been allowed to participate.

Since his college days, Clarkson has been eyed by the Philippine men’s national basketball team to recruit him. In 2015, Clarkson was invited to the Philippines to oversee training for the Gilas Pilipinas program, and he has maintained a close relationship with the global Filipino community.

“The action of the NBA will no doubt cheer the hearts of Filipinos here and all over the world,” the Philippines’ national basketball federation said in a statement.

Clarkson, who holds dual citizenship in the Philippines and the United States, expressed joy to the news that he would be representing his maternal grandmother’s native country.

“PUSO! My heart is full of gratitude for everyone who helped make this happen. See you all very soon!” Clarkson wrote on Facebook.

Behind the Olympics, the Asian Games, often referred to as the Asiad, is the largest multi-sport event in the world. Held every four years, the Asian Games bring together athletes from all over Asia to compete in 51 sports spanning nearly 400 events.

The Philippines basketball team initially withdrew from the Asian Games after 10 of its first-team players and two coaches received suspensions and fines following an on-court brawl with Australia at a qualifying game for the World Cup last month. However, the Office of President Rodrigo Duterte intervened and the withdrawal was later reversed.

Clarkson is one of 26 players on the Philippines’ basketball team, which handily beat Kazakhstan 96-59 in the opening game on Thursday, Aug. 17. Clarkson will join the team next Tuesday when the team faces off against China.

Klarize Medenilla

Klarize Medenilla is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

1 Comment
  1. Gilas Pilipinas team even though missing most of its regular members still strong and intereting to watch especially now that we have Jordan Clarkson. Let us see how far this team will go and enjoy the fun while its last… We have a solid back court but our front court may still need a little improvement. Anyway out team today maybe stronger than before.

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