JaVale McGee has long expressed interest in playing for the Philippines, and it seems that it may finally become a reality.
A bill has been filed that would naturalize McGee as a citizen, making him eligible for the national team. McGee tweeted in January about possibly playing for the Philippines:
@coachot that d Phil national team is about to be formed. Would love to represent d Phils if given d chance
McGee has tantalizing talent, but is more known for his quirky style and often baffling play, including highlight reel dunks and bonehead plays. The 7-footer would be a huge acquisition for the basketball-crazy country, which failed to qualify for the 2012 London Games. McGee would be eligible to compete in the 2013 Asia Championships, a precursor to the World Championships in 2014.
McGee was introduced to the Philippines during exhibition games earlier in the year while the lockout was still in effect. The freakish athlete dominated the streetball-type scrimmages, which were well received by a country with huge affection for the sport.
McGee’s freakish athleticism and tendency to block everything (and often goaltend everything as well) would be a huge asset in international play. Players are allowed to touch the ball as soon as it hits the rim, which could make McGee an unstoppable force on the defensive end if utilized the right way. With the lack of big man available to Team USA, its a surprise that his home country hasn’t seemed to express any interest in bringing him onboard for the 2012 Olympics. McGee was cut by the team in 2010 before the World Championships.
McGee would become an instant star and celebrity in the Philippines, and could help them earn a birth in future Olympic Games.