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Jordan Clarkson’s meaningful visit to his home

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Despite being in Manila for an NBA Cares events, Los Angeles Lakers’ Filipino-American guard Jordan Clarkson still thinks about the team’s off-season and future, but he wouldn’t mind doing so because he is in an ideal place for reflection: home.

Together with NBA legend Horace Grant, Utah Jazz guard Trey Burke, the Oklahoma City Thunder girls, and Charlotte Hornets mascot Hugo, Clarkson attended various activities over the weekend to promote basketball and empower the youth while also sharing precious moments with basketball enthusiasts in the Philippines.

Fresh from being named as part of the NBA All-Rookie First Team, the 24-year-old Clarkson was showered with love upon his entry to the packed NBA Store last Saturday where he gave fans the opportunity to have photos and autographs.

Later on, while surrounded by representatives of the press and drenched in sweat as an electric fan was not enough to counter the oven-hot atmosphere, Clarkson gamely answered questions with the same enthusiasm as a few hours ago.

There were many topics to discuss, but the country’s devotion to hoops was what captured Clarkson’s attention the most, saying that it somehow mirrors how he works hard to elevate his game.

“It is just crazy. You see the support and how many showed up even how hard it is going [they keep playing]. Seeing that was a good feeling,” he shared. “That’s what drives me everyday. I have to work hard to continue to be that person.”

And seeing an entire nation rally behind gives Clarkson added motivation, claiming the Filipinos are among the reasons why he plays. “It means a lot. I don’t play for myself. I play for us, the fans, and my teammates. I love the support. Seeing it now is a great feeling,” he said.

The Laker guard, who averaged 11.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 3.6 APG during the 2014-15 NBA season, even bared he “would love to” play for the Philippine national basketball team if he has “an opportunity and it presents itself.”

Prior to his visit, Clarkson said the Filipino fans “have been very supportive of me all year long” and he “can’t wait to thank them personally.”

He could have stayed in America and focused on other stuff, but the effort to travel 8,000 miles to reach the archipelago, endure the scorching heat of Manila, spend time with underprivileged children in Tondo, and exchange high-fives and smiles with hundreds at the NBA Store in Glorietta 3 is enough justification.

Clarkson loves it here.

Clarkson is home.

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