NBA HISTORY: Two players of Filipino descent playing in Thursday’s Houston Rockets game

Jalen Green picks up a Houston Rockets cap after he was selected by the Houston Rockets as the second overall pick during the first round of the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Corey Sipkin) (Corey Sipkin)

There’ll be some NBA history made during Thursday night’s Houston Rockets/Utah Jazz game, and it happens to coincide with Filipino American History Month.

The Rockets’ Jalen Green and the Jazz’ Jordan Clarkson are both of Filipino descent, marking the first time two such players are taking the floor in the same NBA game, according to the Rockets.

Green’s maternal grandfather is from the Philippines. Same with Clarkson’s mother. Both players have contributed plenty to their respective teams so far in this young NBA season.

Green, the Rockets’ top pick (second overall) in the most recent NBA Draft, leads the team in three-pointers made and ranks second on the team in scoring after four games with 14.5 points a contest.

Clarkson, the 2021 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, averages 17.3 points in his three games, good enough for third on the Jazz behind Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.

The cultural milestone is part of an eventful Filipino Heritage Night hosted by the Rockets at Toyota Center.

The festivities include:

  • All fans attending will receive a Jalen Green jersey T-shirt
  • Green will participate in a postgame Q&A with fans who took part in a special ticket promotion. This also may feature an appearance from Clarkson.
  • The national anthem will be performed by Jonah Daquigan
  • Three members of Houston’s Filipino community (Mylene Supan, Corazon Flores, and Florencio Guinhawa) will be recognized for their outstanding work
  • Special guests at Thursday’s game include the Honorable Jerril G. Santos (Consul General of the Philippines), Gary Ilagan (Executive Director, Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce of Texas), Gazini Ganados (Miss Universe Philippines 2019), Brian Puspos (choreographer/recording artist from Houston), and The Almighty Kracker Nuttz serving as guest DJ’s. Ilagan will be taking Thursday’s ceremonial “First Shot” benefitting the Rockets’ Clutch City Foundation.

The two teams tip-off at 7 p.m. on Thursday evening. So far, the Rockets are 1-3. The Jazz are unbeaten after three games.

About the Author:

Born in Canada but raised in Houston, Howard joined KPRC 2 in 2021 after five years at ESPN. Before that, Howard was a reporter on Houston Rockets and Houston Astros game broadcasts. Among the events that Howard has covered on site: the NBA bubble and the Basketball Hall of Fame inductions for both Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. He's H-town proud!