There is no doubt that Vietnam have fall in love with Saigon Heat. In their first season in the ASEAN Basketball League, the Tan Binh Stadium sold out everytime the Heat play. One of the players that the Heat fans love so much is their big man in the middle, Jonathan Jones. The 6'10'' center finished his inaugural season with an averaged of 21.86 points and 12.76 rebounds per game.
We caught up with Jay-Jay to talk about his experiences living in Saigon.
The Saigon Heat fans show you guys a lot of love, how was the experience of living in Saigon during the ABL season?
My experience in Saigon was awesome, on and off the court. We had the best fans in the ABL. Being a part of the first ever professional basketball team in Vietnam was very special. My time off the court was amazing to able to see Vietnam 37 years after the war. It was amazing to see how they rebuild the city. The Vietnamese people are very friendly and they made me feel really welcome to their country. The crazy part was riding around on my bike the whole season. It was extremely dangerous but I had a great time seeing the city. 90% of the people in Saigon ride motor bikes as their main transportation.
What was your favorite food in Saigon?
My favorite food in Saigon by far is Pho Vietnamese noodles. Pho tastes like top ramen with beef flavor on steroids. I recommend everytone to try pho at least once in their life time.
Any favorite hang out spot?
My favorite hang out spot in Saigon is Ben Thanh Market. It smells pretty bad in there but Ben Thanh is a shoppers' paradise. They have everything there from dead fish to custom made suit.
Can you talk about the development of the Heat's local players throughout the season?
I have two words for the development of the Heat's local players, Jason Rabedeaux. Coach Rab is a great teacher and motivator. He helped everyone to improve their game throughout the season and gave everyone confidence to be successful. He is the best coach I have ever been around and played for. I've been involved with the game of basketball for almost 20 years now and the Heat are extremely lucky to have Coach Rab as part of their organization.
What was your favorite moment from your first experience in the ABL?
Being a part of ever professional basketball team in Saigon is once in a life time experience. I will cherish all the memories for the rest of my life. Not too many people can say they were part of Vietnam's first ever professional basketball team.