Why Richard Gomez is calling for a boycott of the NBA

August 14, 2018 - 1:23 PM
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Actor and Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez in 2018. (via his Facebook page)

Actor turned-Asian Games mission chief Richard Gomez has vowed to refrain from following the National Basketball Association’s games after the world’s biggest basketball league barred one of its players, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson, from playing for the Philippines in the upcoming Asiad.

Boycott?

The NBA’s decision disallowing Clarkson from playing in the Asian Games put an end to hopes that a player from the first-tier basketball league could banner the Philippines’ campaign.

NBA spokesperson Tim Frank said the league had an agreement with the governing International Basketball Federation that NBA players could only play for Olympics, the FIBA Basketball World Cup, Continental Cup competitions and associated qualifying tournaments.

Gomez, also the mayor of Ormoc City, said that while the Philippines would continue to pursue success in the competition, he would stop watching the NBA.

“Without Jordan Clarkson we will continue to fight at the Asian Games but from now on I will stop watching the NBA,” Gomez said in a statement.

Clarkson himself expressed his disappointment, posting a picture of the jerseys that he was supposed to wear in the tournament with an apology to his Filipino fans.

Philippine Olympic Committee Secretary General Pato Gregorio also blasted the decision, saying that the NBA had “broken the hearts of 100 million Filipinos.”

The officials’ disdain stems from questions on why the Houston Rockets’ Zhou Qi was allowed to play for his native when Clarkson was barred.

Not all Filipinos, however, agree with Gomez’s reaction to the NBA’s decision.

Clarkson was born to Annette Davis, who has Filipino roots. He has dual citizenship which allows him to play for the Philippine national team.

Drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 46th pick in 2014 NBA Draft, the 6’5 guard had since then been on the radar to one day banner the Philippines in international play.

He was also touted as the Lakers’ future star after a superb rookie season and an All-Rookie First team selection. However, he was unable to lead the Los Angeles-based team to playoff contention and was eventually traded to the Cavaliers last season.

He was criticized for a lackluster performance in the 2018 post-season, averaging only 4.7 points, 1.7 rebounds and .7 assists in the Cavaliers’ run.

This is not the first time in recent months that calls to boycott the NBA broke out.

A number of fans used the hashtag #NBABoycott to protest officials’ deregulation of the player market that allowed high-income franchises such as the Golden State Warriors to stockpile talent and reduce parity in the league.