Nineteen-year old Filipino-American hoops star Jalen Puruganan Green was chosen No. 2 overall by the Houston Rockets in the 2021 NBA Draft in New York on Thursday (US time).
Before putting on his red cap, Green, who was dressed in a sparkling suit, hugged his Filipino mom Bree and the rest of his Fil-Am family.
He eventually made his way to the media room where he chatted with reporters in person and virtually.
"I'm always excited to represent the Philippines. So, the fact that there's ties in Houston, it's kind of like it was scripted. So, I'm excited to take that out there and just represent and put on for the Philippines and can't wait to meet everybody and see the fans. It's going to be exciting," he said.
Green, who grew up in Fresno, California, will join reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson as the only active Filipino-American players in the league and he is looking forward to when the Rockets take on Clarkson and the Utah Jazz.
"I'm excited, I can't wait. I cannot wait, I'll tell you that much," he said.
The fans are excited as well.
Green joins a Houston team going through a rebuilding phase after finishing last in the NBA with only 17 wins. The franchise did win back-to-back titles in the '90s, but has not reached the finals since.
"I think I can be that piece. I think I can bring that dog mentality, that defensive mindset and an exciting part at the same time. They already got a lot of star players, a lot of excitement on the team. I think they're just missing one more piece and I think I can fulfill that," he said.
Green skipped college to enter the inaugural NBA G League's Professional Pathway Program where he averaged nearly 18 points a game against veteran players.
Several of his prep-to-pros teammates from the G League were also selected in this year's draft.
The Detroit Pistons selected Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 overall choice.