Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Blatche officially granted Filipino citizenship
By Mike Mazzeo
So this is really happening.
Andray Blatche is really going to play for the Philippines in the FIBA World Cup in late August.
Blatche, who was born in America and is not of Filipino descent, was officially granted Filipino citizenship on Wednesday after making a brief visit to the country.
“I think if guys can play with their country, it’s good,” Brooklyn Nets GM Billy King said recently. “For Blatche, it’s great because it lets him continue to play and work on conditioning.”
King is right. It is good.
Good for Blatche as he gets ready to play next season. And good for the basketball-loving nation of the Philippines, too.
They have a center now. An NBA center. And that should help them considerably against Group B foes like Argentina, Croatia, Greece, Puerto Rico and Senegal.
In case you’re wondering or have forgotten how this actually happened, let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?
In late January, Blatche told reporters that he was approached by former teammate JaVale McGee with the possibility. Blatche was all for it. (McGee is still recovering from a leg injury he suffered last season, so he had to back out).
That day at practice, Blatche joked that he was “half-Filipino,” but serious about representing the country in international tournaments. “There’s a good chance of it happening,” he said then.
Blatche didn’t know how the naturalization process worked. It was extremely complicated. But in the end, the Senate passed the bill, and President Benigno Aquino III signed it into law.
One of our favorite moments this season occurred when Joe Johnson was asked if he knew Blatche was Filipino. “I know he’s full of s---,” Johnson joked.
It is unknown if Blatche will return to the Nets in 2014-15 and beyond. He plans to opt out and become an unrestricted free agent.
Blatche has been extremely productive off the bench in his two seasons in Brooklyn.
But he may be able to get an increased role/more money elsewhere.
Question: What do you think about Blatche playing for the Philippines now that it's official? Let us know in the comments section below.