Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson urged center Kai Sotto, the 18-year-old big man who recently signed with the Adelaide 36ers of the Australian National Basketball League, to just keep grinding on his journey to the NBA.
"I just want to tell him to go out there. Work hard, don't put any limits on yourself. And just put the time and keep grinding, the [NBA] is gonna be there," Clarkson told ESPN's Chao Meng. "Just go over there and be productive and learn a lot because a lot of those [NBL] players are really good."
Despite not being able to represent Gilas Pilipinas due to FIBA rules and a hectic schedule, the Philippines has continued to shower love on the 28-year-old Clarkson.
Local tattoo artist Jack Brizuela took it up a notch after finishing an extremely detailed tattoo of Clarkson.
"You know, it's amazing. I'm still kind of getting used to that I think I've seen the other day on Instagram. Somebody got a tattoo of me. Kind of threw me off a little bit, but the work was amazing. ... It's definitely good to feel that love and support," Clarkson said.
Being one of the top bench players in the NBA, Clarkson has emerged as one of the leading candidates for the Sixth Man of the Year award. Winning it would be a mission accomplished for Clarkson, who said that he targeted the award before the season started. He previously stated that he would be a definite winner if he had played for a winning organization.
"So I feel like all that has kind of come in place. I'm in the right situation, the right fit, coaches let me play my role and do it here and it's just been a blessing. And so happy I'm having this opportunity. Hopefully I do win Sixth Man of the Year," said Clarkson.
The Jazz is Clarkson's third stop in the NBA, having previously played with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Cleveland Cavaliers. He said coach Quin Snyder should be given the most credit for their recent success, who had helped Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and Mike Conley become All-Stars this season.
Blowing a 3-1 series lead against the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the NBA playoffs is all but a distant memory for the Jazz, who are gunning for the franchise's first championship.
"We're trying to compete for a championship. We want to be in the Finals and hold that trophy up. But we know it's one step at a time. You know, it's one game at a time. We know we've got to keep growing, we've been taking it like that the whole season," said Clarkson.