Jordan Clarkson wanted to play for the Philippines in the upcoming Asian Games and the national team coach had put him on the roster (his mother is a native of that country, so he qualifies). However, the NBA did not clear him to participate in the event. NBA spokesman Tim Frank released this statement to Philippine and other media:
“The NBA’s agreement with FIBA stipulates that NBA players can participate in the Olympics, the FIBA Basketball World Cup, Continental Cup competitions, and associated qualifying tournaments. Because the Asian Games are not one of those competitions, NBA players are unable to participate.”
Clarkson took to Facebook late Sunday to express his disappointment. Here is his statement:
To my Filipino Brothers and Sisters,
I am terribly disappointed to say that I have not received the required consent to participate in the upcoming Asian Games with our National Team. Although I will not be there in person, I will be with my Gilas teammates in heart and spirit. Despite this, my desire and ambition to play with my countrymen in the future remains resolute and I am adamant that this dream will come true!
It should not be a huge shock the NBA did not clear the Cavaliers’ guard for this, teams worry about the risk of injury when their players compete internationally. While players can play in the most significant FIBA events, the league does not want to set the precedent of letting players suit up for lesser events, it would end up meaning a lot of nations would pressure players to do more and it would put the players in more difficult situations (either say no to their country or put themselves at increased risk).
Clarkson can play in the World Cup qualifying games coming up in September, a number of other NBA players are expected to, but he will not be at the Asian Games.