If everything falls into place, Smart Gilas Pilipinas will have the Washington Wizardsâ€™ seven-foot center JaVale McGee as naturalized player for the next FIBA Asia championship.
McGee had been in the country twice in the last four months and, in his last visit, expressed willingness to be part of the Philippine team vying for a slot in the 2014 World Championship.
Of course this is happening. Three months ago, he took part in a set of exhibition games in the basketball-loving country with guys like Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, and Derrick Rose. He clearly made the most of that opportunity, with the crowd loving his ridiculous coast-to-coast drives and even more ridiculous act of planking in the middle of the game. Just over a week ago, he went back there toÂ sign on as an endorser for Smart Communications and, um, had some excellent pictures taken. While in the country, he filmed commercials, made appearances, and conducted a basketball clinic. Playing for Talk N Text in the PBA and/or joining the national team seems like the logical next step, right? Right.
Itâ€™s worth noting that McGee took part in the U.S. Teamâ€™s mini-camp last year before the World Championships, but since he didnâ€™t make the team he is allowed to become a naturalized player elsewhere. Heâ€™s had a busy summer â€” as well as all this Philippines stuff and traveling to China for promotional appearances with Peak, heâ€™s spent time playing in the Drew League and just returned from participating in a USO showcase in Hawaii. While most things about JaVale McGee are hilarious to us, his team is taking this off-season seriously.