Jalen Brunson only learned recently that dad Rick played in PBA

Jalen Brunson only learned recently that dad Rick played in PBA
Video jalen brunson father

JALEN Brunson found out only on Thursday that he isn’t the first one in the family to play in Philippine shores.

Over two decades before the New York Knicks star playmaker runs the offense of Team USA in the Fiba World Cup, his father, Rick, actually made a cameo in the PBA in the late 1990s.

The younger Brunson learned about the fact during the Americans’ introductory press conference on Thursday when Inquirer reporter and diehard Knicks fan Jonas Terrado asked him what he remembers about his dad playing one game for Barangay Ginebra in the 1998 Governors’ Cup.

“I was barely two years old. That’s crazy,” answered Brunson, who is celebrating his 27th birthday in Manila on August 31, a day after Team USA’s last game in the group stage.

A free agent after playing one season with Portland Trail Blazers, Rick found himself suiting up for a Ginebra team that was desperate to make the semifinals. In a PBA conference that allowed teams to field two imports while they missed a handful of local stars who played for the Centennial Team, Brunson teamed up with former Philadelphia 76er Kenny Payne.

READ: Jalen Brunson among NBA players and their dads who played as PBA imports

Brunson scored 21 points in his lone game at the Big Dome to complement Payne’s 37 points, but their efforts fell short as Ginebra suffered a 107-97 loss to Formula Shell to finish the eliminations with a 7-8 record for sixth place.

Brunson, now 51, still managed to make his way back to the NBA after that PBA stint, retiring in 2006 after a nine-year NBA career. He’s now an assistant coach with the Knicks, having the privilege to coach his son.

  Jalen Brunson, Knicks agree to 4-year, $104 million deal

“Basketball has opened a lot of places for myself and my family. So to know that dad was here, it’s special. It’s an experience we can bond over together,” Jalen said.

“We had a lot of moments like that so just something that we’re definitely going to talk about,” he added.

Get more of the latest sports news & updates on SPIN.ph