This entry is about Filipinos in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and why some Filipinos refuse to accept that there was another Filipino other than Erik Spoelstra in the NBA.
Let me start with Filipino NBA prospects in the past. There were confirmed and "unconfirmed" reports of Filipino players getting the attentions of NBA teams and talent scouts in the past. Aside from Ricardo Brown who was drafted by the Houston Rockets in the third round of the 1979 NBA Draft, there was Allan Caidic whose three-points explosion in 1991 reached even the likes of Dražen Petrović. Then there was Johnny Abarrientos who was just signature away from joining the NBA in the mid-1990s. More recently, Ren-Ren Ritualo scouted during the national team's visit in the US in 2005.
A Filipino-American played in the NBA from 1978 to 1982. His name was "Raymond Townsend", the first Filipino-American and the first Asian American ever to be drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft [the first Asian American ever to be drafted was Wataru Misaka in 1947 but he was not drafted in the first round]. Townsend was drafted 22nd overall in the first round by the Golden State Warriors in the 1978 NBA Draft. A product of the legendary coach John Wooden in the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), he only lasted three seasons in the NBA.
In 1980, Townsend and several NBA players (Jamaal Wilkes, Cliff Ray, Derrek Dickey and Greg Lee) toured the Philippines and played a series of exhibitions in Manila, Olongapo and Cebu. He left the NBA in 1981 after a short stint with the Indiana Pacers and went overseas to extend his basketball career.
Anyway, many Filipinos today are still dreaming about the first Filipino in the NBA without acknowledging the fact that a Filipino-American played in the NBA before. Some do not recognized him as the first Filipino in the world's best basketball league because he was not “full-blooded”.
Some Filipinos, who are, in fact, "racist" and to these days, refused to accept the likes of Paulasi Taulava as Filipinos, will not accept nor acknowledge Raymond Townsend as the first Filipino in the NBA. Those racist Filipinos thought that being half-Filipino is not Filipino enough. They believe in the mythical "pure-blooded" Filipino race. In basketball, they prefer a 6'6 Filipino-American point guard from the US NCAA (e.g. Gabe Norwood) to play as a forward or even center because it is unfair for the shorter and less-skilled local players. So if people wonders why Philippine basketball is so stagnant or that we are way behind from countries we used to beat all the time 25 years ago. Then blame the racist mentality of some Filipinos. There primitive thinking hurts our national game and unfortunately, some Filipinos will continue to have that mentality until their mythical "pure and full-blooded" Filipino set his foot in the NBA.
If we re-phrased it to first "homegrown" Filipino player in the NBA instead of first "pure and full-blooded" Filipino then its more acceptable and I would love to see that happens.
"You can take a Filipino out of the Philippines, but you can never take out the Philippines out of a Filipino" ~Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat Head Coach
The first Filipino American head coach in the NBA and in my opinion, Pat Riley’s protégé/heir apparent. He was Riley’s assistant coach in the Shaquille O’Neal and Dwayne Wade-led line-up that captured the 2006 NBA crown.
|Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat Big Three|
In 2008, he succeeded Pat Riley as head coach of the Miami Heat after 13 years in the Miami Heat franchise. Since his coaching debut in 2008, he lead Miami to two consecutive NBA play-offs appearances and recently, with a line-up that includes Dwayne Wade, Lebron James, and Chris Bosh (perhaps a revival of Chicago’s Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman of the 1990s), lead his team to his debut finals as team's head coach but loss to Dallas Mavericks.
Nate Robinson: A Filipino-American?
Nate Robinson's claimed are interesting but thanks to one of our anonymous readers he posted a link in the comments about lil Nate's mother (Renee Busch) explaining the truth of Robinson's Filipino past.
Renee Busch explained that Nate grew up in a Filipino community and learning Filipino values but she pointed out that as far as she knows, Nate Robinson has no Filipino blood. However, the author of the article said that she was uncertain and referred him to Nate’s grandmother.