THE way he’s playing in his sophomore year with the Los Angeles Lakers, it was a given that Jordan Clarkson would be playing in the Rising Stars Challenge in Toronto during All-Star Weekend. The question, however, was what team would the Filipino-American play for — Team USA or Team World?
The answer was announced on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time) after the 23-year old Filipino-American was named part of Team USA along with Laker rookie D’Angelo Russell.
The old format used to be the rookies against sophomores until it was changed by the NBA. It will now feature American-born first- and second-year players going up against international players.
Prior to the announcement, there was some speculation that Clarkson, whose mother Annette Davis is a natural-born Filipina who hails from Pampanga, could play with Team World, considering his lineage.
In an interview with Lakers.com early this week, Clarkson reiterated his desire to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the upcoming Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila this July, revealing ongoing developments to allow him to participate as a Filipino national.
Clarkson welcomed the prospect of representing the Philippines in the international team but his selection to the US squad became moot and academic after the NBA based their selection on the country of birth and not descent.
“I think it would be cool to represent the Philippines and the country,” Clarkson told Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times last Tuesday prior to being included in the annual game.
“I’m just happy to be playing, because even if I’m on the USA team I’ll be representing the (Philippines),” said the 6-5 Clarkson, who has per game averages of 15 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
The 46th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Clarkson was one of the bright spots in what was a dismal season for the Lakers. He was named to the All-Rookie team last year but, before that, was snubbed for the 2015 rookie-sophomore game.