In his seven-year stay in the NBA, Jordan Clarkson has played for three teams.
And the 6-foot-4 combo guard made sure to learn from the role players whom he has played with.
So when he was bestowed with the KIA NBA Sixth Man of the Year award, Clarkson made sure to pay tribute to two legendary sixth men — Lou Williams and JR Smith.
“Having a teammate like JR, Lou Will, and even just having conversations with Jamal (Crawford)… There’s just something they all kind of passed down to me,” said the Filipino-American after becoming the first Utah Jazz player to win the award.
Clarkson got a chance to play with Williams from 2015-17 when they were with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Then after his trade to Cleveland in 2018, he got to work side by side with Smith.
Williams is a three-time Sixth Man of the Year awardee. Meanwhile, Smith won the award in 2013 when he played with New York.
“I remember Lou was big on me in L.A. with slowing down with life and everything; just giving me so much knowledge that I really wasn’t able to accept when I was a young player in the NBA. But all the stuff he told me, I really took it into account as I got older,” he continued.
Clarkson also got a chance to work with Crawford during the off-seasons. Both Crawford and Williams hold the most number of Sixth Man citations at three apiece.
During the past season, Clarkson averaged 18.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game.
Besides the trio, Clarkson also shared that growing up, he watched a lot of Manu Ginobili films. Ginobili, who won the same award in 2008, is a two-time All-Star and a four-time champion — all while coming off the bench.
“Growing up watching Manu, I’ve said it before, he’s one guy that I really watched growing up and he really made this role really cool to me,” said Clarkson, who incidentally was the first player since Ginobili to norm over 18 points, four rebounds and two assists while coming off the bench.
“I wanted to be like Manu, taking moves and stuff like that. That was a big part.”
Then, of course, there is his Australian teammate Joe Ingles, with whom he formed the Jazz’s bench mob.
And yes, Ingles himself presented Clarkson with the award.