Rice: A Filipino can make it to NBA soon
IT’S just a matter of time before a Filipino player makes it to the National Basketball Association.
Retired NBA star Glenn Rice said this while taking a break from his next passion in life, which is managing and staging mixed martial fight promotions.
He said the quality of games in the NBA has changed and become more uptempo, and fast-paced.
“Filipino players have the speed. They’re small. But the game now has kind of catered to the smaller players,” said Rice, during a three-day viewing party commemorating the first NBA Filipino Heritage Week at the Globe Icon Amphitheatre at the Bonifacio High Street inside the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.
He talked about the possible entry of Filipino entries in the NBA during the game between the Miami Heat and Minnesotta Timberwolves.
Over Filipino breakfast fare (pan de sal with cottage cheese, ensaymada, a chocolate drink and taho), Rice noted that the NBA top players nowadays are point guards.
These days, it’s Oklahoma City Thunder Russell Westbrook who is leading the NBA most valuable player race, with fellow guards two-time MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and James Harden of the Houston Rockets not far behind.
The 6’8” Rice, now 50 years old, noted that two Filipinos are making an effort to join NBA teams, namely Kobe Paras and Kiefer Ravena.
Paras is now with Creighton University, and Ravena had a stint with the Texas Legends in the NBA D-League.
He said it’s the guards who are dominating the league.
“Filipino players are shooting three-pointers very well. And they have the speed. Keep on doing that. I know for sure, there’ll be a Filipino player in the NBA (soon),” Rice went on.
He advised aspiring Filipino players not to give up.
“Continue believing and keep on working as hard as you possibly can. Right now, the percentage of Filipino players making it is at an all-time great. The possibility of getting in there is getting good,” added Rice.
During his time, Rice played as a small forward and believes that joining training camps helped him develop a consistent game as a wingman.
From the Miami Heat in 1989 to the Charlotte Hornets, he got better. He made it three-times to the All Stars and played with Michael Jordan before moving on to Los Angeles Lakers in 1999.
When he moved on to the Lakers, Rice said he felt in awe while playing with Shaquille O Neal and Kobe Bryant.
“When I got there, I told myself that I got the opportunity to play with the best,” Rice said.