|Filipino American Jordan Clarkson will play for the Philippines.|
IN A LAST-MINUTE ruling, the National Basketball Association is allowing two Chinese and a Filipino American compete in the Asian Games.
Zhou Qi of the Houston Rockets and Ding Yanyuhang of the Dallas Mavericks will play for China and the Cleveland Cavaliers' Jordan Clarkson will play for the Phlippines in the games being held in Jakarta, Indonesia this year.
After initially ruling that players couldn't take part in the Asian Games, the NBA decided Tuesday to make a onetime exception to allow three players to play.
In a statement, the NBA said:
"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 under contract are unable to participate. However, due to a lack of clear communication of that agreement between the NBA and the Chinese and Philippines Basketball Federations, and after further discussions with both Federations, the NBA has agreed to provide this one-time exception."
Clarkson, 26, whose mother is from the Philippines, is scheduled to arrive in Jakarta on Thursday at 10 a.m. local time and will miss the Philippines' first game of the competition against Kazakhstan.
"My heart is full of gratitude for everyone who helped make this happen. See you all very soon," Clarkson wrote on his Facebook page after being informed of the decision.
The Philippines isn't expected to win the tournament, but with the addition of Clarkson, the team could medal, which it hasn't done since 1998 when it won the bronze. Earlier this summer, Clarkson was able to practice with the Philippine team and cheered them on in a warmup game against Taiwan.
After spending parts of the first four seasons of his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers, the guard was traded to Cleveland last season and helped them reach the NBA Finals.
In 81 games split between the Lakers and Cavaliers, the 6'5" Clarkson averaged 13.9 points, 2.7 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game.