Brooklyn Nets forward Andray Blatche is really standing out now that he’s a Filipino. Kind of.
The power center-forward, topping out at 6-foot-11-inches tall, may have been born in America, but a new law spearheaded by Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara was all it took to clear the way for Blatche’s new citizenship status in order for him to participate as a Filipino in the upcoming International Basketball Federation World Cup in Spain.
The Philippines, says Angara via ESPN, are a “sports-loving nation with a distinct affection for basketball,” and Blatche can make “significant contributions” towards things staying that way.
On Wednesday, according to the Sun Star, a presidential spokesman confirmed “that the president signed Republic Act 10636 granting Filipino citizenship to Mr. Blatche.”
The Philippines haven’t competed in a FIBA World Cup for three-and-a-half decades, and the organization does indeed allow for just one naturalized player on every team.
Blatche goes into the tournament averaging 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds a game. As he notes on Twitter, “Most shots in the league for the last four years running… no plans on stopping.”
So by playing Filipino in the World Cup and later in September at the Olympic Games in South Korea, Blatche is likely to steal even more limelight than usual in the coming year’s highlights reels. In the Philippines’ Group B at the World Cup will be Croatia, Greece, Senegal, Puerto Rico, and Argentina.
Blatche said at a press conference on Tuesday that it wasn’t hard deciding whether to help the Philippines build a solid team for the World Cup and Olympics:
“The sport of basketball is huge here. It’s in the heart of every Filipino and I love basketball, and so it’s like we have that similarity.”
Maybe now he can be the center instead of center-forward again, too.
On his Twitter page, Blatche gives all kinds of carnal advice and glimpses into his spare-time moments. It’s NC-17 stuff. Better for the kiddies to note how Blatche (with the coolest jersey in the league, No. 0) has been a top-tier player since perhaps a few years after the Washington Wizards snatched him up in 2005 in the second round.
Hey, Group B. Get ready. He just showed up for practice over the weekend. This guy:
It’s important to note all of Blatche’s various charitable activities when seeing how far he’s come over the course of his career. His very first season was marred by a carjacking that left Blatche gunshot at the beginning of his first season, and despite stellar seasons to come, he left the Wizards in 2012 under a cloud of bad press. This kind of press suits him much better these days.
[Image courtesy of the NBA]