Houston Rockets sophomore Jalen Green arrived in the country for the third time last August 10, 2022.
The NBA star’s Adidas JG4 Manila Tour kicked off the following day, August 11, with a press conference and a meet-and-greet for some lucky fans both held at the Adidas Brand Center in Glorietta. At seeing the crowd that gathered, Jalen felt right at home. He said, “Coming to the Philippines, everyone gives so much love and support. To come back and give my love and support, means so much to me.”
Five out of six
The 6’6 Fil-Am impressed the media in attendance by correctly giving the English translation of five out of six Filipino words. This feat demonstrated Jalen’s affinity and pride in his Filipino roots.
The Adidas global athlete was very thankful to be back in the Philippines and had a message for his fans in attendance in the venue and those who watched the press conference on livestream. Jalen said, “I want to say thank you guys for coming and I appreciate all of you guys here and I’m so happy to be in Manila”.
In Kobe’s shoes
One of the highlights of the opening event was Jalen wearing the infamous Adidas Crazy 1 “Stormtrooper,” the very first signature sneaker worn by the late Kobe Bryant more than 20 years ago.
The day’s main event was the “One of One Tribute: Manila Culture Experience” held at the Ayala Malls Manila Bay in Parañaque. Jalen, who is a car enthusiast, was treated to a car show and he was surprised with a graffiti mural of himself made by Quiccs and Egg Fiasco. There was also a streetball-inspired basketball court in the venue where Jalen was able to entertain those in attendance with a few perimeter shots and a couple of jaw-dropping dunks.
The support and love shown by the Filipinos during his stay here will surely be treasured and remembered by Jalen, his younger sister Jurnee, and mother Bree Purganan (whose roots are in Ilocos Sur).
On a personal note, I was lucky to have a brief but memorable encounter with Jalen.
The day after, August 12, I joined a small group of media persons who had short interview with Jalen. Although I didn’t have a one-on-one with the NBA star, I managed to request him to sign my basketball card. I handed him the card and a blue permanent marker for the occasion.
Jalen simply looked at the blue pen and didn’t take it. He asked in a chill, laidback manner, — not so loud, but audible enough for everybody else to hear, “Anyone with a black pen? … Any color not blue.”
A few beads of sweat formed on my forehead as I scanned the room for someone who might have a black pen. I silently reprimanded myself for not right away replacing my black pen that ran out of ink. That was my go-to pen for getting athletes’ autographs, and it’s been held by the likes of David Beckham, Steph Curry, Steve Kerr, Jayson Tatum… Why, oh why didn’t I have a black pen then?!
Eagle-eye Jalen himself saved the day for me. He noticed that Bea, one of the PR agency organizers, had a marker in her shirt pocket. He pointed to Bea’s pocket and asked, “What color is that pen?”
Bea said, “This is red.”
Jalen replied, “Yeah, that will be fine.”
He took the red pen that was handed to him and signed my card with it. I thanked Jalen, gave him a fist bump and told him, “Good luck with your career. I’ll be praying for you.”
Jalen said, “Thanks, man.”
During the press con Jalen spoke about how he builds a “winning mentality.” He said, “My mindset is to go in and be the best version of myself on and off the court.”
My short but meaningful encounter with Jalen is proof of his firm stand on certain things. As much as it shows his preferences or his convictions, he is certainly observant and open to what the situation may bring.
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