Jordan Clarkson has advised this story earlier than. Amidst catastrophic flooding that occurred within the Philippines, the Utah Jazz guard had seen a photograph of younger youngsters enjoying basketball on a hoop that had, one way or the other, survived the pure catastrophe. The picture touched him, portray a bigger portrait of simply how common and impactful the sport actually is.
“After one of the natural disasters they had over there, I saw a picture where it’s flooded and kids are still playing basketball with the hoop still standing,” he stated to NBA.com. “Just showing love for the game over there and how pivotal basketball is, how far it stretches. It’s crazy then just seeing the support I have from the Philippines.”
Clarkson, whose mom is of Filipino descent, not too long ago advised the Philippines media that it was vital to him to symbolize the nation at this 12 months’s All-Star occasion in Salt Lake City. “I know in the West they’ve got a lot of talented guards,” he stated to ESPN. “But I feel like I can represent Utah, the Philippines at the All-Star Game, if it happens. It would be exciting if that happens.”
Whether he’s chosen or not, Clarkson has been having fairly the 12 months up to now, from placing up career-high numbers—21.1 factors and 4.3 assists—to embracing his position as an skilled guard. Having performed with and realized from the likes of King James, the Black Mamba and Lou Williams, JC is aware of firsthand what stepping up as a frontrunner seems to be like, too, telling NBA.com: “Being around Kobe and Bron, there’s been [lots] of vets I’ve been around in the NBA, you know. Lou Williams, guys like that. It’s kinda pushing me to a leadership role in my ninth year in the League. Just seeing how they handled it and kinda doing the same.”
After getting traded to the Jazz from Cleveland, Clarkson has discovered all of the help he must thrive. “The trade was definitely a lot to take in. I didn’t know what to expect,” Clarkson advised The Athletic again in 2021. “But when I got here, the team, the coaching staff, the city and the fans, they welcomed me with open arms. The Jazz showed they invested with me and made me feel comfortable. I feel free here.”
It’s that freedom that has allowed Clarkson to stay true to himself. As head coach Will Hardy not too long ago emphasised to Andscape, Clarkson is “a very creative player, and he sees the game in a unique way sometimes. And I have to give him the latitude to be himself out there because when he plays freely, he plays with his instincts, he’s at his best. He’s a guy that I definitely don’t want to put in too narrow of a lane because of his ability to impact the game in a lot of ways. Off the court, he is as fun-loving and easy going, engaging a person as I’ve been around in the NBA.”
Clarkson is undeniably some of the distinctive and classy gamers within the League, from his painted nails and his appearances at Paris Fashion Week to his everlasting presence on @LeagueMatches. Regardless of what different folks would possibly assume, Clarkson has all the time remained true to himself. “Everybody around the League knows who I am and respects it,” he advised Marc J. Spears.
What many have additionally come to respect is Clarkson’s dedication to the grind. The forty sixth choose within the 2014 NBA Draft has come a great distance from enjoying on the then-Los Angeles D-Fenders within the NBA Development League his rookie 12 months. And he was simply coming off the bench a 12 months in the past. He’s now a solidified starter, second on the group in scoring, and, as Hardy identified after the Jazz’s win towards the Cavaliers, could make “some big plays.”
Even when Donovan Mitchell made his well-awaited return to the Beehive State on January 10, it was Clarkson who stole the present. But anybody who noticed his tunnel match that evening already knew what sort of time he was on. Clarkson pulled up carrying a black graphic tee from his model, Shop Sixx, that has a printed cranium within the center and icy blue lettering spelling out his title.
Many followers will acknowledge Clarkson’s sartorial aspect; he as soon as advised @LeagueMatches, “When I take a night off from dressing, I think I go 0-20 and it ain’t a good look.” Well, that evening towards Spida and the Cavaliers, he went 11-19 from the sector and erupted for 32 factors within the win.
Clearly, Clarkson isn’t taking any break day quickly.
And because the Jazz look to proceed their climb up the NBA standings—as we go to press, they’re
No. 8 within the West—they’ll look to Clarkson for his management, vitality and the unwavering ardour he brings to every little thing he does on and off the court docket.
“His ability to kind of reform himself, reshape himself around that idea is leadership in itself,” stated teammate Mike Conley, based on KSL.com. “And he’s been awesome.”
He’s additionally obtained a devoted fan base rooting for him, one which extends 7,400+ miles from Utah to the Philippines. Clarkson has stated he plans on suiting up for the Gilas Pilipinas within the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup subsequent summer season, too.
But till then, he has enterprise to deal with at dwelling.
Photos through Getty Images
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