MANILA – Basketball star Klay Thompson has long been familiar with Filipinos' love for the Golden State Warriors, even thousands of miles away from the Philippines.
And for the first time on Thursday, he got to experience it genuinely on Philippine soil.
Thompson and his Warriors teammate, Kevon Looney, arrived in Manila to witness the finals of ANTA’s Shock The Game and launch his latest signature shoe with the sports brand, KT9.
During the media launch, half of NBA’s popular “Splash Brothers” acknowledged that they have a strong support from the Filipino community in the Bay Area – which they celebrate through a Filipino Heritage Night every season.
“We have a huge fan base of Filipinos in the Bay. We celebrate Filipino Heritage night so to be here is really great. It's a very full circle moment,” he said.
The four-time NBA champion was surprised to see fans across the world when he got drafted to the Warriors – and he is making sure to appreciate it.
“I never would have thought when I got drafted to the Warriors that we’d have fans around the world. Coming to Manila, feeling the love is just so special and we don’t take it for granted. We really appreciate it and love all our fans. We feel so expired which makes us work that much harder,” Thompson continued.
And now that he has experienced the Filipino love in the Philippines, Thompson is looking forward to also establishing a nickname in the country – “Manila Klay.”
Thompson enjoyed the weather in the Philippines as he transports him back to The Bahamas, where he traced his roots.
“I think they should be looking forward to 'Manila Klay' because it’s my first time in this beautiful country. We stepped out of the plane yesterday, you can feel the tropical breeze,” he said.
“It felt so nice and it reminded me of the Bahamas a lot actually where my family’s from. It just feel like, the moist the air feels so good. I’m excited to meet all of our Filipino fans.”
Thompson and Looney will be attending several events on Friday including a basketball camp in Greenhills.