D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson
D'Angelo Russell (left) and Jordan Clarkson celebrate their win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Jan. 12, 2016.
(Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Clarkson, Russell Enjoying Trips to Asia

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

In between spending the offseason by working out on the court and in the weight room, two of the Lakers’ young talents decided to broaden their worldview with trips to the other side of the globe.

Last week, Jordan Clarkson paid a visit to the place of his heritage — the Philippines — and now he and D’Angelo Russell are touring China as ambassadors for the NBA.

Clarkson’s venture to the Philippines included a camp for underprivileged children, to whom he also donated workout gear.

The trip also included putting in some with with Gilas Pilipinas — the Philippines national team that Clarkson has expressed interest in playing for internationally.

“It’s been good being able to go back to the Philippines, practice with the national team, do workouts and things,” Clarkson said in a phone interview with Lakers.com. “I got to visit some historical places in the Philippines and do my little camp.”

During practice with the brodie @ray15parks #gilaspilipinas

A photo posted by Jordan Clarkson (@jordanclarksons) on

Now, both of the Lakers’ guards are in Beijing, where they have already been greeted by plenty of fans.

“I got a good experience at the hotel when I first got here,” Russell said. “I met a big fan who showed me these rookie cards and collection he’s had of me over the years.”

The duo has visited local elementary and middle schools in China, while also making some personal time. Russell decided to walk the Great Wall of China, while Clarkson was able to experience the Forbidden City — the former Chinese imperial palace.

Of course, they have also gotten a chance to meet some local fans, who tune in for games despite being 15 hours ahead of Los Angeles.

“They’re diehard fans,” Russell said. “Something that wowed me the most was how often they travel to the U.S. just to watch a game, and then travel back. A lot of these guys make that trip multiple times a year just to watch their favorite player play.”

And some got the chance to even share the court with those players, like when Clarkson threw down a dunk during a drill with some kids.

Others got too close of a view at Clarkson’s talent. While celebrating Children’s Day at a Beijing elementary school, Clarkson swatted one boy’s shot to the other end of the court.

“I wouldn’t let anyone score on me out here,” Clarkson said, laughing.

On June 3, Clarkson and Russell will make an appearance on CCTV’s “NBA Primetime” after the latter attends an NBA Finals watch party with 2,000 students at the China Agricultural University. Russell will also travel to Shanghai two days later, pairing up with Boston’s Isaiah Thomas to host 20 underprivileged students for a day at the NBA Playzone family entertainment center.

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