Thompson seems to know a lot about hoops in the Philippines.
As many of the world’s best players have converged in Manila for the FIBA World Cup, another one arrived on Thursday—but for a different purpose, which is to hold a basketball clinic and take part in the special release of his Anta signature shoe.
That player, of course, is superstar shooting guard Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors. And, as if a seeming rite of passage, the four-time champ was asked on media day about the Philippines and its love affair with hoops. His answer would surely leave Filipino basketball both pleasantly surprised and honored at the same time.
“Just watching videos back home of the PBA and watching Manny Pacquiao play pickup. I mean, Manny came to Oakland and played, and seeing his love for the game inspired us because he doesn’t do it professionally. And to see his love, it’s awesome,” Thompson recalled.
Pacquiao, of course, is a known hoops head, always finding time to play pickup games and even playing professionally in—yes—the PBA at one point in his career.
Thompson was not done, as he apparently has plenty more good things to say about the Philippines and the Filipinos’ passion for basketball.
“Just seeing footage of Kobe [Bryant] here or LeBron [James] and seeing all the love they got here is very inspiring not only for us, but also for NBA fans around the world,” Thompson added. “It’s so cool to be in a place where basketball is everybody’s first love.”
And that's just the beginning. Thompson, who brought along teammate Kevon Looney as well, will get the chance to experience that love even more as he spends more time in the country.