Jordan Clarkson shares lessons from playing with LeBron, Kobe to Gilas teammates
MANILA, Philippines—Jordan Clarkson earned praise from his Gilas Pilipinas teammates not only for his performance in the fourth window of the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Clarkson was also lauded for his leadership on and off the court which was something he learned while playing with two of the greatest players ever in LeBron James and the late Kobe Bryant.
The Filipino-American guard is one of the few to have played alongside the two Los Angeles Lakers superstars and he that rare experience to his young teammates, particularly Kai Sotto.
“I’ve seen a lot with those guys doing in film sessions with coaches, how they make adjustments and just stuff like that,” said the 2021 NBA sixth man of the year.
Clarkson teamed up with Bryant from his rookie year in 2014 to 2016 before playing with James in Cleveland in 2018.
“For me, communicating with Kai as well, I think me and coach talk to him a lot, you see teams start to double team him, do that, and Kai’s in a position to you know, make plays and score on that paint now,” said Clarkson, who delivered 23 points, five rebounds and six assists in his first game on Philippine soil, spearheading an 84-46 rout of Saudi Arabia at Mall of Asia Arena.
“It’s just staying communicating 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,” he added.
The 30-year-old Clarkson also commended the versatility of his teammates.
“If you look at our team, we’re very versatile, with Kai and Japeth (Aguilar) playing that was in that big situation but everybody is able to handle the ball, everybody is able to make plays, we all trust each other, going to the rim,” he said. “I think we are all skilled enough, to handle and to get us into plays, and do whatever it is, I think fast, shooting threes. When we have an opportunity, getting to the rim.”
Clarkson, who averaged 27.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists in his first two games as Gilas’ naturalized player, is set to miss the last two windows as he shifts his focus on the upcoming NBA season. He will rejoin the national team six weeks before the Fiba World Cup 2023.
In his remaining days in Manila, Clarkson wants to spend more time with his Gilas teammates before flying back to the US.
“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. So we look forward to hanging out before I get out of here,” he said
Clarkson is raring to return and help Gilas win in the World Cup next year.
“It was great, I think you kind of see my shooting numbers boost up. I think I felt all the energy in the crowd, we all did, as a team. It’s different playing at home, in front of your own people and this arena is beautiful,” Clarkson said. “I can’t wait to come back here again and you know, play some more games. You know, have everybody behind us and get some wins.”