Q&A with the Bay’s Dior Lowhorn

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Q&A with the Bay’s Dior Lowhorn

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Chan/Flickr

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Chan/Flickr

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Chan/Flickr

Sean McCarthy,
Staff Writer

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Dior Lowhorn is a professional basketball player, who plays as a forward for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the Philippines, where thousands of fans attend games during a short, popular summer basketball season. But the 29-year-old San Francisco native got his start playing ball in the East Bay.

During his senior year at Berkeley High School, Lowhorn averaged 26.9 points and 12.7 rebounds. With Lowhorn on the team, Berkeley High School won their first NCS title in 2005 since 1978. He was named the NorCal Player of the Year and was the runner-up for the Player of the State award in 2004-2005. Lowhorn played Amateur Athletic Union ball with East Bay teams: Bay Area Blast, Oakland Soldiers and Oakland Raiders.

MaxPreps, a high school sports tracking resource, listed Lowhorn as “First Team” for all players who have played in the Max Preps Martin Luther King Classic since 2003. The “First Team” designation means that he was one of the best five players to ever play in this game. He was listed as one of the best five players with current NBA players Ryan Anderson of the Brooklyn Nets, Jared Cunningham of the Milwaukee Bucks and former NBA player Leon Powe of the Boston Celtics.

Lowhorn played for the Texas Longhorns for a year, then transferred to the University of San Francisco, where he surpassed the legendary Bill Russell as the fastest to reach 1,000 points. Lowhorn last saw action on the court in the United States when he was invited to the Warriors D-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, in November of 2015. Lowhorn played two preseason games with the Santa Cruz Warriors, but he was then cut to make room for another player and returned overseas.

The Pioneer spoke with Lowhorn recently in a Skype video chat about his present, past and future as a professional basketball player.

 

The Pioneer: What are you doing nowadays? I know you’re playing ball, but where are you at?

Lowhorn: Right now I’m in the Philippines, my favorite country in the world. I’m in Manilla, I love Asia. I’ve been here the past three summers. It’s a pretty short — three-month — season. I never get homesick because they have everything that we have in the states. They have all of our food, restaurants, shoe stores, barbers, man. Everything.

 

P: What is basketball like in the Philippines?

L: Basketball is the number one sport out here. It’s not soccer, it’s basketball. Manny Pacquiao has a team out here, Kia Sports. I just saw him yesterday. We play his team in two or three weeks so I’m going to make sure I take a picture with him and post it on my Facebook. You get about 20,000 people out to the games, it’s crazy.

 

P: How long have you been playing professionally and where?

L: Six years since leaving USF. My first year I was in Belgium for 8 months from October 2010 to May 2011, then I was in Ukraine for four months, then I went to Slovakia for the rest of that season for five months. After that, I went to Venezuela but I didn’t like it there so I was only there a month. After Venezuela I was in Vietnam from November 2012 to May 2013. After Vietnam I went to the Philippines for my first time, then I went to Morocco from January to May 2014. Then I went back to the Philippines and then to Singapore from October 2014 to maybe February of 2015. Then I went to Japan and after, I came home for a while. In 2015 I had my son with my college sweetheart. I’ve been with her for ten years and my son is nine months old. Then I played preseason for the Santa Cruz Warriors for two games before I got cut in November 2015. Now I’m back in the Philippines.

 

P: What was is like moving away from home to chase your passion?

L: Man, honestly, I got homesick quick. I was missing my family, the Bay Area, I was homesick. But my girlfriend then was with me at the time so we would just start exploring. Like in Belgium, we went to Brussels, which is a college town, then Antwerp, where they make the diamonds. Luckily I’ve been in countries where there is a lot to do, I haven’t been in the sticks. Lately I haven’t been getting homesick as much. In Japan I went to Tokyo and Harajuku land where the girls dress like Sailor Moon. We have a lot of free time. I practice from 9-11 a.m. every day so I have a lot of time to do whatever I want to do. Luckily here in the Philippines they spoil us. I have a driver so if I call [him] he’ll take me anywhere at any hour. He is a 24-hour driver.

 

P: Do you want to finish out your career in the Philippines?

L: No, it’s just a summer thing. It’s a quick season. The companies that own the teams here are like the ten biggest companies in the Philippines. One is the phone company, I played for the paint company, one is a beer company. These are multimillion [dollar] businesses, so they throw all their money into basketball. I’ll probably go to Singapore to play when this season ends and then come back afterwards.

 

P: Would you ever come back to play in the D-League if they asked you?

L: No! (laughs) There is no money in the D-League. Like, unless you know for a fact that you are going to get called up, then no. You can get stuck there, if you don’t play good, you get stuck and you don’t make any money. I’d rather travel, man, and make some more money.

 

P: I saw on you Facebook page that you have fans commenting on your stuff. You’re pretty good at replying to some of them.

L: The first team I played with here — it’s called Genebra San Miguel. When I signed I had like 5,000 friend requests, 3,000 inbox messages, and 10,000 notifications. [Now] if I go outside of my condo and walk on the streets, I’ll be signing autographs all day. Everybody out here is wearing a jersey; there’s a basketball court every couple of blocks. Everybody goes on tour here: Damian Lilliard, Kobe, Blake Griffin. Every NBA player who goes on their shoe tour here says it’s their favorite country by far.

 

P: You would say it’s bigger than in China, huh?

L: It’s bigger than China. China has more money but in terms of the fans and the love of basketball, there’s no comparison. China has more money to pay ex-NBA players but for the love of basketball, no. Even in the United States, Philippines trumps any country for the love of basketball by far, by a hundredfold. It’s not close, it’s crazy. So that’s why it’s my favorite country. Filipinos are the nicest people, the food’s good, the money is good and the basketball is great. There is nothing bad about it.