By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
PHILIPPINE Basketball Association (PBA) star Kiefer Ravena made history by becoming the first Filipino athlete to be included in the roster of ambassadors of the Jordan Brand.
Mr. Ravena, 27, who plays for the NLEX Road Warriors in the PBA, was officially introduced as the newest athlete of the global sporting brand on Tuesday.
It was a dream come true for the former Ateneo Blue Eagle, having followed and admired the legendary basketball journey of the man behind the brand — Michael Jordan.
“It’s an honor for me to be part of this basketball family. I’m both thankful and excited to be the first Filipino to be a member of the Jordan Brand. Seeing how MJ (Jordan) played during his time in the NBA (National Basketball Association), I collected his shoes and wanted to be a part of his camps in the US. My first pair of basketball shoes were Jordan 9s,” shared Mr. Ravena, also a mainstay with Gilas Pilipinas, in a statement.
The Jordan Brand affiliation is another milestone for Mr. Ravena, a second-generation player who has been in the spotlight since he picked up the sport at a young age.
He is currently entering his fourth year in the PBA, where he has career averages of 16.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 5.9 assists to date.
For the Jordan Brand, to have Mr. Ravena on board is not only in recognition of his contribution to the game, but also a thumbs-up to the vibrant basketball culture in the country.
“We’re inspired by Manila’s basketball culture and are thrilled to welcome our first Filipino athlete to the Jordan family,” said Craig Williams, Jordan Brand president.
“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. We are united by a shared love for the game, and Kiefer — a two-time UAAP (University Athletic Association of the Philippines) MVP and champion — represents the passion and love for basketball that you see all over the Philippines,” he added.
Now with the Jordan Brand, Mr. Ravena also seeks to use it as a platform to continue to promote the game and showcase what Philippine basketball is all about.
“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,” he said.
Adding, “It’s beyond basketball. It’s about giving your best to the sport, the best of your abilities…”
Apart from Mr. Ravena, included in the roster of athletes under the Jordan Brand are NBA All-Stars Zion Williamson, Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum, and WNBA stars Asia Durr and Kia Nurse.