Usually, the game in mid-January, the doggy days of the NBA season, does not arouse much curiosity or emotion. This is usually when teams are either preparing for the upcoming exchange date or trying to bite through the middle of the season to prepare for the playoffs.
This will not be the case on January 19, when Utah hosts Houston at the Vivint Arena. Instead of the typical January blues, a kind of league history will develop when Jordan Clarkson from Utah and Jalen Green from Houston take on the court together.
For the second time in NBA history – the first time the two teams played on October 28 – two players of Filipino descent will play together in an NBA game.
In his post-match speech on October 28, Clarkson reiterated how much basketball means to Filipinos and how he and Green, who would share the court, could further inspire others.
“They love basketball,” Clarkson said after Utah’s 122:91 victory over Houston on October 28. “It’s just that the two of us are super inspiring to the youth and to every Filipino American, every Filipino, anyone with Filipino blood. I feel like it’s just an amazing experience, something that can’t be repeated because (was) the first. Maybe we’ll see more. “
Jalen Green and Jordan Clarkson become the first two players of Filipino descent to share the field in an NBA game! pic.twitter.com/waKSIfVwCA
– NBA (@NBA) October 29, 2021
The Jazz will now do their part and honor Clarkson and Green by hosting a Philippine Heritage Night on January 19. It will be a massive celebration of the Philippine heritage with many gaming activities and commemorative T-shirts in honor of the occasion.
– Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) January 10, 2022
Erwin Hines, a local San Diego resident, is the designer of the commemorative T-shirts sold at the team shop. The white shirt is sold with ticket packages offered for the game, while the black shirt is only available in team stores.
When designing the commemorative T-shirt, Hines knew he wanted something that not only promoted his legacy, but also something that united him.
Following what Clarkson said about basketball-loving Filipinos, Hines decided to use the Tagalog word “Pamayanan,” which means “community.” He also used symbols such as the sun and basketball to describe unification.
“The star / sun represents unity and togetherness,” Hines said. “Having such a design behind a basketball, where people hold it to the sky, is like a trophy. Basketball is unifying for us, and that’s what I wanted to show. “
For Hines, he began his journey to discover his Filipino origins as a little boy growing up in the Midwest.
His parents ensured that he never lost sight of who he was or where he came from, and instilled in him the cultural effects of being black in America.
But he always felt he was missing some part.
His natural curiosity and desire to learn about his culture led him to his grandmother, a first-generation Filipino. From small stories to swearing, Hines began to discover more about his Philippine heritage as he grew old, and in return began to embrace this site.
“I grew up in the Midwest, there weren’t many Filipinos there, so I didn’t really understand parts of myself,” Hines said. “My grandmother was Filipino and she started teaching me a little more. But even at that age (in high school), I didn’t really care about heritage or history. Bych I would ask how to say swearing. ”
Although it would still take years for Hines to truly accept and understand the Philippine side, this part of him is a massive part of his identity as a 35-year-old adult living in San Diego.
“The projects I’m working on serve as an opportunity to connect with my grandmother and her story,” Hines said. “It’s a space for me to remind myself that I am a follower of this story, a living and evolving heritage. Currently this legacy includes Utah Jazz. … It is a blessing to work with them. ”
Beginning in 2022 with a special Utah Jazz. pic.twitter.com/bingbOJrTG
– Erwin Hines (@erwinhines) January 4, 2022
Hines is not the only member of the Philippine community to be represented on January 19.
Joseph Buenaflor sings national anthems, while Grace Shoptaugh and Gracie Lou Cultural Dance Group perform Filipino cultural dances. Mary Navalta-Chavan (President of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Utah), Grace Lack (Public Relations Officer, National Federation of Philippine American Associations) and Melle Moreno (Pilipino American Association of Utah Officer) will also attend.
Jazz players bought tickets to the game and donated them to local organizations, including the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce in Utah, the National Federation of Philippine American Associations, and the Pilipino American Association of Utah.
To help celebrate the night, Jazz offers top-bowl tickets that include a limited edition Filipino Night T-shirt (size subject to availability) for as little as $ 25. For those who want to buy a package, but for seats in the bottom bowl, prices start at $ 120. Click HERE to purchase tickets.