Ron Harper Jr. made Filipinos proud when he was signed to a two-way contract by the Toronto Raptors before the 2022-2023 NBA season. Toronto, a city with a deeply diverse community and rich Filipino culture, has accepted the Filipino-American rookie, who is the son of former NBA player Ron Harper.
In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month, the Toronto Raptors featured Ron Harper Jr. on their Instagram page and the young forward discussed his favorite Filipino dish and shouted out his lola’s cooking. Watch the video below to learn more about Ron’s love for chicken adobo and his lola’s cooking!
Photo Courtesy of Ron Harper Jr.'s Instagram
With the 2022 NBA Draft just finishing, great news is in store for Ron Harper Jr. who's headed to the League. He joins the Toronto Raptors after a two-way deal that happened after the 58 picks of the draft were announced. Rutgers alumnus is the son of five-time NBA champion Ron Harper. As a senior, he averaged 15.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists.
This is not only going to be a great team-up but we're also excited to see how the Raptors and Harper Jr. work together on future Filipino heritage night events. Last year, the Raptors highlighted Filipino heritage in their latest City Edition Jersey video that centered around Filipinos' love for the game, but also what the game means to a family.
Harper Jr. was one out of three prospects with Filipino backgrounds looking to step on that draft stage. Kai Sotto and Remy Martin have not yet signed deals, so we'll be sure to keep an eye out on the NBA Summer League or news for updates.
Also, history was made when Jaylin Williams from Arkansas was drafted with the 34th Pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Cover Photo Credit: Roc Nation Sports
Houston guard Jalen Green had an impressive rookie season. As the highest drafted Asian-American and Filipino in the NBA, Toronto gave him a warm welcome when the Rockets dropped by the 6ix for a matchup against the Raptors before the end of regular season play. Toronto went big when Jalen came through by forming a collaboration between Adidas Canada and sneaker artist Jack the Ripper to create personalized Adidas Crazy BYWs.
The design focuses on Jalen's Filipino heritage where Jack the Ripper incorporates the colors of the Philippines flag along with the iconic 3 stars and sun symbol. Other details include the number 4, which will be Jalen's new jersey number going into next season along with the area code of 559 which represents his hometown of Fresno, California. Complex shared that Jack the Ripper also added his own flare to the design with the black trim to wrap all the colors together in a cohesive look. He channeled Jalen's play style of playful and exciting into the look of the shoe.
To make the event more special, Jalen along with Adidas donated $10,000 to the Rise Tribe organization, a Toronto-based non-profit dedicated to celebrating and empowering the next generation of Filipino-Canadian youth. Jalen has been vocal about wanting to help make a path for the next generation of Fil-Am ballers and show them their dreams of making it to the League are possible.
Cover Photo: Rise Tribe Instagram
It's a given that Filipinos love basketball, it's basically our national sport. But how did it all start? Just like anything else, it only had to start with one person as the catalyst to bring forward a tradition and bond that will span across generations. NBA's Toronto Raptors highlighted Filipino heritage in their latest City Edition Jersey video that centered around Filipinos' love for the game, but also what the game means to a family.
The piece was shines a light on the love Filipinos have with basketball. Toronto along with many other basketball cities have a huge Filipino following that brings us together even if we're apart. The video mentions so many relatable memories we all have with our town family like when a living room becomes an arena with all the cheers, high fives, and food going around. The love for basketball all started with one who cared enough to pass it down and now everyone takes part either as a spectator, player, coach, or even referee, it's more than a game.
Poet/Writer Jillian Maniquis wrote and narrated the video and said how honored she was to do this project because she saw her own family through the featured Taino Family:
“Just like the Taino’s, I grew up with a big extended family and my childhood was filled with weekends spent together with them. Trae shared her concept with me, centered around Mama Taino, and how so many generations after her love basketball the same way she does. I loved that visual: one person being the catalyst for so many things - a love of togetherness, family, basketball. I wrote it as an ode to Filipino families who have a similar shared experience of watching basketball games together, and even just celebrating together. I was lucky to get inspiration from the Taino family as well, sharing their favourite memories of their Mama and how she brings them all together in this way."
Maniquis grew up knowing how prominent basketball is to Filipino culture and how it brought people together. "Whether through charity games across the city, Filipino Heritage Nights at Raptors games, even when visiting the Philippines and getting to see all the courts always busy no matter where you are. I think that’s what the video says to people, that basketball as a whole is not just a sport or a game, it’s a feeling of togetherness and connectedness.”
Do you have a favorite memory at a game or gone to a Filipino Heritage Night? It's one of the coolest experiences you'll have at a sporting event!
Stay posted on upcoming Filipino Heritage Nights at: www.myx.global/filipinoheritagenight
Check out the incredible team who worked on the video!
Producer Director: @n.trae
Cam Assist: @email@example.com
Score + Audio: @beatsbyjstn@prodbykxng@prince_of_summer
Cover Photo Credit: Toronto Raptors Twitter