IN this age of globalization, NBA legend Darryl Dawkins isn’t discounting the possibility of a homegrown Filipino playing in the biggest basketball stage in the world.
The 6-foot-11 Dawkins said aspiring local players shouldn’t be discouraged just because there are critics who would tell them that playing in the NBA is like ‘shooting for the moon.’
“I exaggerate not. I’m not here to give you false hope or false dream. When you have guys who are hungry to play, and they want a way out on the way they grew up, it’s either books, music or sports, and sports seems to be the quicker way,” said Dawkins, who’s currently in the country to promote the new, multi-year broadcast partnership between the NBA, Solar Entertainment Corporation, and ABS-CBN.
“I don’t see any reason why anybody can’t make it to the NBA.”
Dawkins stressed the globalization of basketball has long been upon us, citing the presence of Italians, Argentines, Greeks, and even Asians in the world’s most popular basketball league.
He said the presence of European players in the NBA should encourage Filipinos to keep aspiring for the higher ground in the hope of eventually making it to the big stage.
“I think it’s just a matter of time before Filipinos play in the NBA because in the NBA. If you can play, you will get a chance,” said Dawkins during the press conference held at the NBA Café in SM Aura, Taguig.
“We do not discriminate. Otherwise, I would not make it.”
Currently, incoming Fil-Am rookie Jordan Clarkson has been signed to play for the Los Angeles Lakers this season after a stellar collegiate season with Missouri.
Clarkson was selected 46th overall in this year’s NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards, but was shipped to the Lakers shortly.
The 6-foot-5 guard’s mother Annete hails from Pampanga.
Meantime, the 57-year-old Dawkins, best remembered for shattering the backboard during an NBA game twice in his career, also had glowing words for former PBA players Vince Hizon and Bong Alvarez, who played under him with the Pennsylvania Valleydawgs in the USBL.
“The good thing about having Bong and Vince, I made it clear to my team that when I put you in the game, you go in and shoot, and (play) defense,” recalled the former NBA big man, who goes by the monicker ‘Chocolate Thunder,’ and had stints with the New Jersey Nets, Detroit Pistons, and Utah Jazz in a 14-year career from 1975 to 1989.