FILIPINO American basketball star Jordan Clarkson has become the first Utah Jazz player to win the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award.
Clarkson on Monday, May 24, was named as the 2020-21 Kia NBA Sixth Man, beating teammate Joe Ingles and New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose for the award.
“It’s been a journey. I’m really excited. It came as a surprise to me,” the 28-year-old player said after Ingles handed him the trophy during an interview with TNT’s “Inside The NBA.”
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According to the NBA, Clarkson garnered 65 first-place votes and earned 407 total points from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. He was followed by Ingles, who received 34 first-place votes and earned 272 total points; and Rose, who had one first-place vote and 77 total points.
To be eligible for the annual award, players had to have come off the bench in more games than they started.
Clarkson averaged a career-high 18.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 26.7 minutes in 68 games during the 2020-21 regular season.
— utahjazz (@utahjazz) May 24, 2021
The NBA also noted that his scoring average of 18.3 points as a reserve was the highest in the league.
Earlier this year, Clarkson said he’s aiming for the honor of being named the NBA’s top reserve.
“Definitely it was one of my goals going into this year, to go get that and play that role,” he said.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) celebrated Clarkson for winning the award, saying the Philippines is proud of him.
“In his short and sweet stint with Gilas Pilipinas, Jordan Clarkson showed us not only his world-class talent, but also gave us a glimpse of the hard work and dedication necessary to get to that level,” SBP president Al Panlilio said Tuesday, May 25.
“Getting a front-row look at Jordan during the Asian Games made us all believers that he will accomplish great things in the NBA,” he added.
Panlilio continued: “Congratulations on winning the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, Jordan. The SBP and the entire Philippine basketball community [are] proud of you. Once a Gilas, always a Gilas.”
Clarkson played for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. His maternal grandmother Marcelina Tullao Kingsolver, was from Bacolor, Pampanga in the Philippines.