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Jalen Green goes international
Fresh off his rookie season with the Houston Rockets, Green reveals a new role with the fledgling East Asia Super League that draws him closer to his Filipino heritage
Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green, freshly named to the All-Rookie First Team last month, is expanding his profile internationally as he moves into his second NBA season.
In a recent phone interview, Green told me he is joining the East Asia Super League — which will feature teams from greater China, Japan, Korea and the Philippines — as an ambassador and investor. Retired NBAers Baron Davis, Metta Sandiford-Artest and Shane Battier hold similar roles with the fledgling league.
Born to a Filipino mother and having quickly emerged as a franchise cornerstone for a Houston team that has long been one of Asia’s most popular, Green already had a significant standing in the region. That only figures to expand now through his association with the EASL, which is scheduled to unveil its new format in October featuring eight teams in Asia’s first interleague competition sanctioned by FIBA, basketball’s world governing body.
“I just want to put the Asian basketball community on the map,” Green said, expressing hope that he can be “an inspiration for the next generation of hoopers in Asia.”
“Especially in the Philippines,” Green added, “because I have background there.”
Green, drafted No. 2 overall by the Rockets in 2021 after Detroit’s selection of Cade Cunningham, is just the third player in NBA history of Filipino descent (joining Raymond Townsend and Jordan Clarkson) and has been immensely popular in the Philippines since scoring 51 points in a game at the Mall of Asia Arena in 2018 on his first trip to his mother Bree Purganan’s homeland.
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