Should the Los Angeles Lakers allow Jordan Clarkson to play for the Philippine National Team in the upcoming FIBA-Asia Championships?
Filipino-American Jordan Clarkson is currently in Manila, Philippines and he is practicing with the Philippine National team, also known as “Gilas Pilipinas”. Clarkson is the only player with Filipino blood playing in the NBA right now. Passport issues prevented Clarkson from playing for Gilas in the past. There is a FIBA rule that states that a player should have the passport of the country he wants to represent by the age of 16 in able to be eligible to play for that country. It was thought in the past that Clarkson has failed to do this, but there has been reports that Clarkson actually acquired a Philippine passport at the age of 12 and the management of Gilas is preparing the necessary paper works to allow Jordan to play for the Philippines in FIBA-Sanctioned tournament. But assuming that FIBA allows him to play for the Philippines, there is another issue that needs to be resolved. Will the Lakers allow Clarkson to play for the Philippines?
I don’t see any reason why the Lakers should not allow Clarkson to play for the Philippine National Team. The Lakers allowed Kobe Bryant to play for Team USA in the past. Robert Sacre is with the Canadian National Team. Of course, there is always the risk of injuries with playing for the National Team. Paul George suffered that gruesome leg injury during the scrimmage of Team USA last year, and he missed almost the entire 2014-2015 NBA season. There is always the question of “Flag or Club”, whether in basketball, soccer or in other sports. Yes, the club is paying you and you have a responsibility to your employers. But you have a responsibility to your country as well. Injuries are part of sports, and injuries could happen in a pick-up game, or in an NBA practice.
There is only one Olympic spot available for Asia for the 2016 Olympic basketball so only the gold medalist of the FIBA-Asia tournament will get to play in the Olympics. The Philippines won the silver during the 2013 edition of the tournament to quality for the 2014 World Cup of basketball and the millions and millions of basketball loving Filipinos are hoping that the team can win the gold in FIBA-Asia to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since 1972. If Jordan Clarkson leads the Philippines to an Olympic spot, that would be one of the greatest moments, if not the greatest moment, in Philippine basketball history. And it will boost his confidence even more when he plays for the Lakers this upcoming season. FIBA basketball is a different type of basketball from the NBA and he will surely learn from playing in a different environment. There is absolutely no country in the world that loves basketball more than the Philippines. And the Filipino fans are hoping, that first, FIBA allows Jordan Clarkson to play for Gilas, and then, the Lakers allow Clarkson to play in the FIBA-Asia tournament. Everyone loves a good Cinderella story, and allowing Clarkson to play for the Philippines, in just the nick of time, then for him to lead Gilas to the FIBA-Asia gold; would be a fairy -tale came true.