Jordan Clarkson puts lessons from Kobe, LeBron to use with Gilas Pilipinas

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MANILA, PHILIPPINES - AUGUST 29: Jordan Clarkson #6 of Team Philippines warms up before the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifier Group E between Philippines and Saudi Arabia at Mall of Asia Arena on August 29, 2022 in Manila, Philippines. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - AUGUST 29: Jordan Clarkson #6 of Team Philippines warms up before the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifier Group E between Philippines and Saudi Arabia at Mall of Asia Arena on August 29, 2022 in Manila, Philippines. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

Filipino American National Basketball Association (NBA) star Jordan Clarkson is leading by example.

Commended for his leadership on and off the court, the Utah Jazz guard told the media on Tuesday (Aug 30) that he learned from NBA superstars Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

MEMPHIS, TN - FEBRUARY 24: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers gives direction to teammate Jordan Clarkson #6 during a game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum on February 24, 2016 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
MEMPHIS, TN - FEBRUARY 24: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers gives direction to teammate Jordan Clarkson #6 during a game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum on February 24, 2016 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Clarkson played with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2014 to 2016, where he joined the “Black Mamba” Bryant. He and “King James” played for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2017-2018 season, and later made it to the NBA Finals that time. He highlighted Bryant’s and James' (together with their coaches’) approach to studying basketball films: a process of analyzing, discussing, and learning from recorded games together with the rest of the team.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, left, smiles as he celebrates with guard Jordan Clarkson after scoring a basket against the Chicago Bulls during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 17, 2018, in Chicago. The Cavaliers won114-109. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, left, smiles as he celebrates with guard Jordan Clarkson after scoring a basket against the Chicago Bulls during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 17, 2018, in Chicago. The Cavaliers won114-109. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

For the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year, one important takeaway is “just staying [in communication] with everybody, talking to my teammates, bringing them along, and that’s the biggest thing I’ve always got from those two, especially the way they pay attention to detail and study film.”

Gilas’ Coach Chot Reyes praised the 6-foot-4 guard for his leadership. Commending his attentiveness and punctuality, Reyes said “I think that's very, very important for our team. He is just one of the guys [who’s] always with us and doesn’t excuse himself. That makes our jobs easier. I appreciate that as a coach. That’s leadership.”

Clarkson bagged 23 points and five rebounds for the national team, with Gilas eventually winning 84-46. But he was not alone in achieving this victory, as Clarkson commended Gilas for being versatile on the court.

“I think our team is pretty free flowing and you’ll see us having a good time, a majority of the time at practice. We know when to lock in when it’s serious but I think everybody has a great vibe and free flowing and fun,” Clarkson continued.

Filipino center Kai Sotto of the Adelaide 36ers (who went undrafted this 2022) chipped in 16 points and four blocks in the qualifiers. His skills did not go unnoticed by Clarkson.

When asked about Sotto’s dreams of an NBA draft, Clarkson said that “the sky's the limit” for his teammate. He shared that “I didn't make it to the league until I was 22 years old so he has time to go over. I'm proud of Kai. He’s taking steps in the right direction so I'm happy for him and can't wait to see him continue to grow.”

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - AUGUST 29: Khalid M Abdel Gabar #10 of Team Saudi Arabia competes against Kai Zachary Sotto #11 of Team Philippines during the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifier Group E between Philippines and Saudi Arabia at Mall of Asia Arena on August 29, 2022 in Manila, Philippines. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - AUGUST 29: Khalid M Abdel Gabar #10 of Team Saudi Arabia competes against Kai Zachary Sotto #11 of Team Philippines during the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifier Group E between Philippines and Saudi Arabia at Mall of Asia Arena on August 29, 2022 in Manila, Philippines. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

Clarkson, Sotto, and the rest of Gilas bested the Saudi Arabia during 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on August 29. In the end, Clarkson vowed that Gilas would make the cut this in the competition.

“For us as a team, we’re getting it together these last couple of weeks. Me coming into practice maybe five times, just trying to figure it out [quickly] so we can get ready for this World Cup next year and that’s what it’s about,” Clarkson said.

Clarkson reacts to his viral Filipino impersonator

Perry Lucas is making the round the rounds on social media for his impersonation of Clarkson. The viral photo reached the NBA star himself, reacting with a face with tears of joy emoji on two different posts.

Hoopjunkie shared the viral photo on their social media pages and immediately racked up millions of views in a few hours.

Reuben Pio Martinez is a news writer who covers stories on various communities and scientific matters. He regularly tunes in to local happenings. The views expressed are his own.

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