The NBA opened a second NBA Store in the Philippines. Located at the third level of SM Megamall's Mega Fashion Hall, it's the best basketball league in the world's way of saying that, well, they really like it here!
The NBA also wants to build on the huge success of their first flagship store (located in Glorietta), and they're hoping the expansion will provide Pinoy basketball fans an easier way to get legit hoops merchandise.
Local celebrities and sports personalities witnessed the festivities, including pretty mommy Karel Marquez...
...and several PBA ballers. Having fun there, guys!
The spotlight was focused on just one baller, though. Both Karel and the PBA boys turned into mere spectators at the sight of the event's special guest, five-time NBA champion Ron Harper! Huwaw!
Here's the former Chicago Bull helping out with the ribbon-cutting ceremony:
Harper was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the eighth pick overall in the 1986 NBA Draft. He played four seasons with the Cavs, averaging almost 20 points per game, before he got traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in 1989. The 6'6" guard stayed with the Clippers until 1994 and became one of the team's go-to scorers.
The explosive guard then signed with the Michael Jordan-less Chicago Bulls later in the same year. MJ returned from retirement in 1995, rejoined the Bulls and Harper, who had found his niche as one of the team's role players. He then became a three-peat champ together with the Bulls' historic lineup of Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman.
During the twilight of his playing career, he transferred to the Shaq-Kobe-led Los Angeles Lakers. He won two more titles before finally calling it a career in 2001.
With the NBA champ in town, there's no way we, the basketball nuts of FHM, will miss the opportunity to get some face-to-face time with him. Good thing Mr. Harper was up for a quick chat...
Every player has a good story behind their jersey number. Over the course of your 15-year NBA career, you only had two jersey numbers, four and nine.
When I got to the Cavaliers, we had a great player by the name of Austin Carr. He wore #34, and it was retired. And then Spud Webb won the Slam Dunk Contest a year before, he also wore the Number Four, so I picked #4. When I signed with the Bulls, #4 was retired for Jerry Sloan. I wore #2 for the first four preseason games, and I played like trash! So they told me to take it off. I then picked #9 because MJ had the same number during his stint with the USA Dream Team.
How much do you think has the NBA changed since you retired in 2001?
Over the past few years players have been allowed to shoot the three-point ball more. There’s no more inside basketball. It’s all outside. The guys are all stretching the floor and moving the ball. But in our day, we had more defensive guys. There are no good defensive teams anymore.
LeBron James, Kobe Byant, and Jordan: Who is best one?
Who’s the best player? It’s MJ. There’s no doubt that MJ’s the best player of all time. You got to see the competition that MJ played against. Not only did he play against greater competition, he also played better basketball at most games.
If ever a prime Jordan will play in the NBA today, what will be his scoring average?
If MJ is playing right now, he’d probably average about 60 to 75 [points per game]. Because you couldn’t handcheck him. If you could not handcheck MJ then there’s no way you could slow him down. If you could not hit MJ, you couldn’t slow him down. He’s really crafty when it comes to scoring the basketball and how to get the ball into the hoop.
For our exclusive video interview with Ron, check out the video below: