MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) NLEX guard Kiefer Ravena on Tuesday announced that he is now part of the Jordan Brand family, becoming the first Filipino athlete to join the star-studded roster.
"I still can't believe that I'm part of the Jordan Brand family," Ravena said.
"Being in the same family as MJ (Michael Jordan) and so many other names synonymous with greatness -- I want to be a part of that," he also said. "Being in the Jordan Brand family motivates me, because I know I'm joining something special."
Ravena has almost exclusively played in Nikes since his high school days with the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eaglets and now joins a major part of the larger Nike corporation.
"We're inspired by Manila's basketball culture, and are thrilled to welcome our first Filipino athlete to the Jordan family," Jordan Brand president Craig Williams said in a statement.
"Basketball has a powerful influence on youth culture around the globe, and Kiefer can inspire future generations of ballers to make an impact in their hometowns and beyond," he added. "We are united by a shared love for the game, and Kiefer – a two-time UAAP MVP and champion – represents the passion and love for basketball that you see all over the Philippines."
The Jordan Brand roster features a host of All-Stars including Luka Dončić of the Dallas Mavericks, Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat, Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans, and Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns. WNBA players Jordin Canada, Te'a Cooper, Satou Sabally, and Chennedy Carter are also part of the roster.
Within Asia, China's superstar point guard Guo Ailun is also a Jordan Brand athlete.
In a wide-ranging interview on the Jordan Brand website, Ravena expressed his gratitude in joining the iconic brand as well as the importance of basketball for himself, his family, and the Philippines.
"I feel like I've been welcomed with open arms… The news has been embraced by a lot of people around me. It's amazing to be part of this incredible team of athletes," said Ravena.
"When Jordan Brand opened the Manila store, the energy was really crazy. We had the chance to go inside a few days earlier. Filipinos have always loved Air Jordans. Any time I go to the store, people are lining up for something," he also said.
He also welcomed the new opportunity as a way of further highlighting Philippine basketball and the culture that comes with it.
"I'd like the world to know that Filipino basketball is all about heart. We've always been underdogs. I want to bring back the time when people looked to Philippine basketball on the international stage — the glory days of Philippine basketball. Hopefully, we will be given a chance to do so," Ravena said.
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