Former Washington Wizards big man Andray Blatche’s odd quest to become a Filipino citizen in order to play for that country’s national basketball team has come to a happy conclusion, as Philippines President Benigno Aquino III signed a law on Wednesday that granted him citizenship.
Blatche, it should be mentioned, was born in Syracuse, N.Y., and is not of Filipino descent. Nevertheless, he’ll play for the Philippines in the FIBA World Cup, which begins in late August in Spain. FIBA rules allow one naturalized player per team.
Philippines Coach Chot Reyes is excited, expressing his thanks to the president on Twitter.
Just got word the President has signed @drayblatche citizenship papers. Maraming Salamat, Mr, President!— Chot Reyes (@coachot) June 11, 2014
According to ESPN, Blatche flew to the Philippines on Sunday to meet his new countrymen.
Blatche averaged 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds last season for the Brooklyn Nets. He has said he plans to opt out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, though he has expressed a desire to stay with the Nets.