Jalen Green was in Cloud Nine when Adam Silver announced that he was going to be the second pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. And his destination is Houston — a place with a huge Asian community.
For the 19-year-old G League Ignite product, it was the perfect scenario for him that felt like a movie.
“Man, I’m always excited to represent the Philippines. So the fact that there are ties in Houston, it’s kind of like it was scripted.
“So, I’m excited to take that out there and just represent and put on for the Philippines, and can’t wait to meet everybody and see the fans. It’s going to be exciting,” said Green during the post-draft press conference.
The journey of Green to the NBA has been nothing short of a fairy tale.
Growing up in California, Green was always in search of his identity. He became close to his stepdad Marcus, even carrying his surname.
Years later, he came searching for his mother Bree’s roots that ended up in two visits to the Philippines.
He also represented the US thrice in FIBA youth competitions.
“I think just the work ethic.
“Finding a love for the game, working out, and getting better every day. There’s going to be a lot of free time that you’re going to have throughout the process, just got to get in the gym and work better and get better at your craft every day,” the 6-foot-6 winger shared.
Green also took the unorthodox route in joining Ignite along with fellow Filipino Kai Sotto.
That is why Friday morning (Manila time) was a bookend to one chapter of his life.
“It was exciting,” he shared about Silver announcing his name on stage. “After that, I hugged my family and all the nervousness went away and we just walked on that stage.
“All I was thinking about was the future, so it was an exciting moment for me.”
Green became the third player drafted in the NBA of Filipino descent after Raymond Townsend and Jordan Clarkson.
And he can’t wait to face his “Kuya Jordan” when the season begins.
“I’m excited, I can’t wait, I cannot wait. I can’t wait, I’ll tell you that much.”
Like Clarkson, he vows to represent the country well in every game.
“From what I got that the Philippines love me for me, so I’m just going to keep being myself. I’m going to keep working hard and staying in the gym,” he said.
“It’s not really a responsibility, it’s the game I love and they support me, so I just can’t wait to get out there and just put on for them. I’m excited.”