The love and support of fans in the Philippines have inspired Filipino-American cager Jalen Green to show a better version of himself in the 2022-2023 season of the National Basketball Association.
The 20-year-old Green appreciated the warm welcome he received from Filipino supporters after he flew in with his family on Wednesday, visiting the Adidas Brand Center and then getting a Manila culture experience at the Ayala Malls Manila Bay during the JG4 Manila Tour that started the following day.
“I appreciate the love and the energy. My twitter and my Instagram (account) has been blowing up on this,” said Green, in a huddle with scribes in between his trips around the metropolis.
The 6’4 Green, who signed up to be an adidas Global athlete, is now going into his sophomore year in the NBA, and plays as a shooting guard for the Houston Rockets as their second pick in the first round of the Rookie Draft last year.
He is the third player of Filipino descent to see action in the NBA. In his first season, he averaged 17.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists.
His great performance saw Green make the cut to the NBA All Rookie First Team honors, along with Scottie Barnes (Toronto Raptors), Cade Cunningham(Detroit Pistons), Evan Mobley (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Franz Wagner (Orlando Magic).
And this was also the reason why he gained a large following from Filipino fans.
The Rockets are now in a period of rebuilding after having a not-so-good season the last time around.
They finished 15th in the Western Conference, with a 20-62 win-loss record.
But Green promised that he and members of the team will try to be better the next time, and with a winning mindset.
“(I will) just go in there and be the best of myself, on and off the court, and try to build a winning mentality with my teammates. We’re a very young team, and we’re rebuilding right now,” added Green.
Green was elated to see his Filipino fans during his visit and excited to visit his family’s hometown in Ilocos Sur to get to know the culture and meet his kababayans and relatives up north.
His mother, Lee Purruganan, is part Filipino through his grandfather, who is known to be a full-blooded Ilocano.
He last visited the Philippines for the 2018 NBTC tournament, and was not able to visit Ilocos Sur back then.
Through the One of One Tribute, Green got to experience what it’s like to play in Philippine streetball, graffiti, and sports car culture.
The presentation showed Manila street art, sports cars, sneakers, basketball and Filipino food.
He was shown a special Jalen Green-inspired graffiti mural by adidas Philippines collaborators Quiccs and Egg Fiasco with their local graffiti group, Hidden Fortress Manila.
The graffiti wall was also complemented by a display of sports cars that lined up the venue for the appreciation of the attendees. Green is himself a fan of sports cars.