Entertainment

Bet You Didn’t Know These NBA Players Are Latino

Latinos have impacted a lot of sports in America, and the NBA is no exception. In the past decades, Latin America has produced some superstar players. From point guards to centers, the Miami Heat to the Toronto Raptors, these players have been fun to watch. Plus, most of them have played for their home country’s national teams, including the Olympics.

Let’s explore 11 of our favorite Latino NBA players, both past and present:

1. Al Horford

Credit: Instagram @alhorford

This is Horford’s twelfth year in the NBA, where he is currently playing center for the Boston Celtics. This year the Celtics have an all-star lineup, which should make for a great season.

Credit: Instagram @alhorford

Al Horford is part of a basketball family. His father, Tito Horford, played in the NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Washington Bullets. Horford was born in Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic before he moved with his family to Lansing, Michigan. Horford now has a family of his own, with wife Amelia Vega and two children.

2. Nenê Hilário

Credit: Instagram @nenehilario_42

Nenê is in his 18th NBA season, with stints in Denver and Washington before his current position with the Houston Rockets. Unfortunately, his long NBA career has been sprinkled with injuries. Currently, he has a strained calf that has him sitting the bench for the beginning of the 2018-19 season. But he won’t be out for long!

Credit: Instagram @nenehilario_42

Fun Fact: Nenê is not his real name. Nenê was born Maybyner Rodney Hilário in São Carlos, Brazil. Nene is a nickname meaning “baby”, because he was the youngest in his family and his group of childhood friends. He liked the nickname so much he had his name legally changed to Nenê in 2003, right after his first season in the NBA with the Denver Nuggets.

3. Jose Juan Barea

Credit: Instagram @jjbarea11

J.J. Barea is the point guard for the Dallas Mavericks. He is in his 13th NBA season, where he has played entirely for the Dallas Mavericks except for a three-season stint with the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2011-2014. He may not be in the starting lineup, but he’s an important contributor to the game. Last season, he averaged 11.6 points per game and 6.3 assists per game.

Credit: Instagram @jjbarea11

J.J. Barea may have a big personality, but he’s a short basketball player. While listed at 6’0”, his actual height is closer to 5’10”. His big career can give any of you short players out there hope!

4. Carlos Delfino

Credit: Instagram @delfino_carlos

Carlos was born in Argentina, but holds dual citizenship with Italy as well. He played in the NBA for 8 seasons, from 2004-14, with a short break from 2008-09 to play in Europe. He started in Detroit, before playing for Toronto, Milwaukee, and Houston. His best years were with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he posted career highs and made a big impact from the three-point line.

Credit: Instagram @delfino_carlos

When he wasn’t playing in the NBA, Delfino was a big part of the Argentinian national teams. In 2001, he played on the junior team in the 2001 FIBA World Championship. He was part of the senior team for the 2004, 2008, and 2016 Summer Olympics as well as the 2006 FIBA World Championship.

5. Tiago Splitter

Credit: Instagram @tiagosplitter

Tiago had a short NBA career due to a hip injury, but it was a great one. This 6’11” played power forward and center during his seven seasons. He spent five seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, he made it to the NBA playoffs each year and became the first Brazilian to win an NBA championship in 2014. He was then traded to the Hawks and then the Philadelphia 76ers before announcing his retirement in February of 2018. Tiago was hired in April of 2018 by the Brooklyn Nets as a pro scout, with added duties related to on-court development.

Credit: Instagram @tiagosplitter

Before Tiago joined the NBA, he had an 11-year career in Europe. His professional career started at just 14 years old, which is part of what kept him out of the NBA. He was expected to declare for the 2006 NBA draft, but delayed until 2010 in part because he could make more money in the Spanish ACB League, where the NBA rookie scale salary cap did not apply.

6. Anderson Varejao

Credit: Instagram @andersonvaregao18

The Brazilian Anderson Varejao had twelve seasons with Cleveland Cavaliers, where he was a fan and team favorite. The people loved his wild hair and energetic playing, even dubbing him with the nickname “Wild Thing”. After twelves seasons, he was traded in early 2016 to the Portland Trail Blazers, where he was waived before signing in the middle of the 2016 season with the Golden State Warriors.

Credit: Instagram @andersonvarejao18

In 2016, the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers made it to the NBA Finals. The Elias Sports Bureau says that Varejao is the first player in history to play for both Finals teams in the same season. Unfortunately, he didn’t not get a championship ring because the Warriors lost after being up 3-1 in the series.

7. Carlos Arroyo

Credit: Instagram @juegosdelosmejores10

Our Puerto Rican point guard is still playing internationally, even though his NBA career is over. Over 13 seasons, Arroyo played for a variety of NBA teams, including the Toronto Raptors, the Denver Nuggets, the Utah Jazz, the Detroit Pistons, the Orlando Magic, the Miami Heat, and the Boston Celtics.

Credit: Instagram @gsbasketbolgunlugu

Arroyo also played for the Puerto Rican national team, from 2011 to 2016. During this time, he led the Puerto Rican 2004 Summer Olympics team to victory over the United States’ team.

8. Greivis Vasquez

Credit: Instagram @greivisvasquez

Greivis Vasquez grew up in Venezuela with his parents and his brother before moving to Maryland for high school to play basketball. He went to the prestigious Montrose Christian School where he played with future NBA star Kevin Durant. From there he went on to play in the NCAA at the University of Maryland.

Credit: Instagram @greivisvasquez

From college, he was drafted into the NBA for the Memphis Grizzlies. He went on to play for the New Orleans Hornets, the Sacramento Kings, the Toronto Raptors, the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Brooklyn Nets before being waived. His career highlights were during his years with the New Orleans Hornets, where he was the league leader in assists for the 2012-13 season.

9. Francisco Garcia

Credit: Instagram @domdeportes

Francisco Garcia is the shooting guard and small forward from the Dominican Republic. He played in college at Louisville for three years before entering the NBA draft.

Credit: Twitter @Francisco_G32

In the 2005 draft, Garcia was the 23rd pick in the first round, going to the Sacramento Kings. He played with the Kings for 8 seasons before being traded to the Houston Rockets in 2013 for his final three seasons in the NBA.

10. Luis Scola

Credit: Instagram @luis.scola

Luis Scola was born in Argentina, where he started his professional basketball career in the Aregentine league at 15 years old. He then moved to Spain in 1998, where he played for seven years with Saski Baskonia.

Credit: Instagram @luis.scola

The San Antonio Spurs drafted Scola in 2002, but were unable to negotiate a buyout with Baskonia. Finally, in 2007, the Spurs traded the rights to Scola to the Houston Rockets, and the buyout was resolved quickly. As a starter for the Rockets and then the Phoenix Suns, this power forward was a great NBA player. His NBA career ended in 2017, but he is still playing in China and for the Argentina national team.

11. Manu Ginobili

Credit: Instagram @manuginobili

Another Argentinian, Manu Ginobili had a long professional basketball career that finally ended with his retirement in August of 2018. He was one of the best – he will be missed by his Latino fans!

Credit: Instagram @manuginobili

Over 23 seasons, Ginobili is one of only two players to have won a EuroLeague title, an NBA championship, and an Olympic gold medal. He actually won four NBA championships, all with the San Antonio Spurs.

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Vanessa Bryant Shared The Sweetest Throwback Photo Of Kobe For Her Daughter Natalia’s 18th Birthday

Entertainment

Vanessa Bryant Shared The Sweetest Throwback Photo Of Kobe For Her Daughter Natalia’s 18th Birthday

Stephen Dunn / Getty

Life goes on.

Almost a year after her father Kobe Bryant passed, Natalia Bryant is gearing up for college and celebrating her life in progress. On Tuesday, to celebrate her daughter’s 18th birthday, Vanessa Bryant showered her daughter with tributes and words of wisdom in an Instagram post.

Vanessa posted a handful of tributes to Natalia on Instagram, including old photos of the 18-year-old her father, Kobe.

The late LA Laker, who died last year on Jan. 26 with his 13-year-old daughter (Gianna) and several others in a tragic helicopter crash, could be seen in the photos. In one of the images, Vanessa and Kobe held baby Natalia in an image taken on the Los Angeles Lakers court.

“Daddy’s little princess, Natalia. ❤️🎉🎂🎉#18#BirthdayGirl,” Bryant captioned one of the photos.

In another post, Vanessa expressed how proud she was of the woman Natalia has become.

“Mommy and Daddy are so proud of the young lady that you are. You have displayed so much strength and grace throughout the most difficult year of our lives,” she wrote in the post. “Thank you for stepping in to help me with your little sisters. You’re such an incredible big sister and a beautiful role model to so many people. Thank you for being kind, polite and gracious in everything that you do. You have no idea how happy and proud mommy and daddy are that you’re our daughter. We love you always and forever, forever and always. Happy 18th birthday to our first born, Natalia, our principessa!”

Last week, Bryant revealed that Natalia has college on the mind.

In a separate post shared to Instagram, Vanesa revealed that her daughter has New York on the mind when it comes to getting her Bachelor’s. “NYU is one of her top schools. (@nataliabryant chose not to apply ED to her top 5 schools). I will do my best to keep her in Cali just like I kept her daddy here,” she commented.

There’s no doubt that in the wake of her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gigi’s deaths, Vanessa Bryant and her family have received quite the outpour of support from fans. Look up just about any hashtag with their names and you’ll find hundreds of thousands of images of the two deceased Bryant family members and just about as many fan accounts. The images and tributes have meant to be a eulogy to the two basketball players that lost their lives too soon.

Yet, recently Vanessa Bryant revealed that the ongoing support hasn’t always been so positive for her.

In June, Vanessa Bryant opened up about having to take action and remove herself from all the social media love she and her family have received in the five months since her husband and daughter’s deaths.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CBbChSkBeuP/?utm_source=ig_embed

In a post to her Instagram page, the mother of four, sent a note to fans to let them know that she and her 17-year-old daughter, Natalia, had decided to block fan pages in an effort to keep away from the constant pictures of Kobe and Gianna popping up on their “Explore” pages. In her post, Bryant underlined that she was only blocking the accounts to make sure she was continuing to heal and that it was not being done out of malice.

“Thx so much for all the [love]. @nataliabryant and I have unfortunately had to block fan pages because it’s been really hard to go online and constantly see pics of our beloved Gigi and Kobe under every single square of our explore pages. Blocking the fan pages has helped change the algorithm,” Bryant wrote in a post to her Stories on Instagram.

Vanessa continued to explain that “We [love] you all but please understand that we had to do this for our own healing not because we don’t appreciate your [love].”

Bryant’s Instagram page was made to be private soon after her husband’s death likely for similar reasons.

In a separate Instagram story to her own account Vanessa’s daughter Natalia shared, “We hope that people understand although these fan pages have good intentions, they make moving forward harder since they are constant reminders. Blocking the accounts have helped change the algorithm but we can not go public until the fan pages stop. We love all of your sweet intentions and we hope you understand.” 

Understandably, Bryant and her daughter are sheltering themselves from further hurt during this time.

Here’s hoping their fans continue to support them through this decision and understand their motives. Fortunately, while Bryant and her daughter Natalia have made their accounts private, they are still making their content available through other pages. Recently, Bryant revealed that she had decided to pay tribute to her late husband and daughter Gigi by commemorating their lives with tattoos.

Last week, Bryant took to Instagram to reveal she’d made the decision to honor her husband and daughter with two new tattoos.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CBR38QADoyb/?utm_source=ig_embed

Both images were shared with the public via Nikko Hurtado, the artist behind Vanessa’s ink work.

“Shoutout to @nikkohurtado for coming over and helping me get my Gigi’s sweet message transferred on me,” she wrote in a caption to her Instagram page featuring a video of her new tattoo honoring her daughter. The details of the tattoo aren’t totally visible but in the comments, Bryant revealed that the tattoo features her late daughter’s handwriting. “So happy I can see my Gigi’s handwriting everyday ❤️ #mambacita,” she replied.

Bryant also shared a video of herself receiving another tattoo, this time for Kobe.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CBR3vpUjEOf/?utm_source=ig_embed

In a post to her Instagram page, Bryant shared another video of herself. This time the video revealed that she was actively receiving a shoulder tattoo that is meant to honor her husband.

“I wanted my boo boo’s @kobebryant sweet message transferred on me,” Bryant explained in the caption of the photo.

For fans of the Bryants it’s important to note that while Vanessa and Natalia aren’t looking at fan accounts, the art is still available for you to view if it makes you feel better during this time.

Additionally, fans who want to keep up with Vanessa and Natalia and see how they continue to heal can follow friend accounts or stay in touch with us for updates!

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These Latino Athletes Have Delivered The Most Iconic Moments In Sports History

Entertainment

These Latino Athletes Have Delivered The Most Iconic Moments In Sports History

Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images

Latin American and U.S. Latino athletes have given the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking world countless moments of joy, pride, and hope. Latin American sportswomen and men usually come from disadvantaged backgrounds so their stories of pride and success inspire us even more. It would be almost impossible to enumerate all the triumphs achieved by Latin American athletes, but we are listing the Most Iconic Moments In Sports. Sí se puede!

When Diego Armando Maradona scored the infamous but glorious goal known as “La mano de Dios” (“The hand of God”)
June 22, 1986, Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, in a quarterfinals game against bitter rivals England

Diego Armando Maradona
Credit: romanzosportivo / Instagram

This has got to be the single most controversial moment in World Cup history. Argentina was facing England in the quarterfinals and Maradona jumped to hit the ball with his head. But thing is, he actually hit it with his hand and the ball penetrated the net. The English were of course appalled, but this event remains one of the most memorable in the long history of joy and drama of the Argentinian national team. We got to also remember that there was some bad blood between Argentina and England at the time, a product of the Falklands War. 

When Ana Gabriela Guevara excelled in an Olympic event that was uncharted territory for Latina athletes
2004 Olympic Games, Athens, Greece

Gabriela Guevara
Credit: efemerides_de_famosos / Instagram

Ana Gabriela Guevara, who is now a very controversial politician, gained notoriety for scoring a silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. She competed in 400m, a test that Mexican track athletes don’t generally excel. But she proved that she is one of a kind. 

When Mexican boxing legend Julio César Chávez pulled off a miracle and knocked out Meldrick Taylor in the last few seconds of their championship unification fight
March 17, 1990, Las Vegas, Nevada

César Chávez
Credit: jcchavez115 / Instagram

In a rare encounter, the world’s two best boxers met for a unification fight. Both were unbeaten and Chávez was heralded as a national hero in his native Mexico. The fight was as tough as it gets, with both boxers sustaining enormous amounts of punishment. With 17 seconds left on the clock and behind in the scorecards Julio César connected with a massive right hand. The contest was stopped with two seconds left: a boxing miracle of the highest order.

When Fernando Valenzuela became a baseball hero and an icon of Mexican-American pride and excellence
1981-1986

Fernando Valenzuela
Credit: 5browncrew / Instagram

Fernando “El Toro” Valenzuela became an icon of Latino sportsmanship after an excellent 1981 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was one of the first Mexicans to break into the mainstream in the United States. He inspired and continues to inspire, millions of paisanos. He was an All-Star in each season of his incredible 1981-1986 run. 

When Gabriela Sabatini demonstrated that Latinas can excel in the tennis court
US Open, 1990, Womens’ Tennis champion!

Gaby Sabatini
Credit: sabatinigaby / Instagram

Tennis is a perilous sport for Latin Americans because it is mostly dominated by the United States and Europe. But Gaby Sabatini showed that Latino girls can be ace too! She won the U.S. Open in 1990, defeating the German Stefi Graf. Una dama del deporte blanco en toda la extensión de la palabra.

When Colombian dynamo Nairo Quintana reached the stars on his bike
Since 2012

Nairo Quintana
Credit: nairoquintanaoficial / Instagram

Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas is perhaps the greatest Colombian cyclist of all time. That is a big claim considering the long and glorious history of the sport in Colombia. Quintana is known for his sustained attacks during steep hills: when most of his adversaries struggle, he has his best performance. He was won multiple stages of the Tour de France and the Giro di Italia. 

When Felipe “Tibio” Muñoz swam toward a gold medal and got a whole country celebrating after some pretty traumatizing events
1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City

El Tibio
Credit: mexico_68_el_tibio_munoz. Digital image. El Grafico

Prior to the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, Mexicans had experienced a traumatizing event when the army attacked a group of students and civilians who were protesting at the Tlatelolco Square. The country was split emotionally and politically. But then came “El Tibio” and at least for a brief moment, the country was united behind a young man who swam his way to a gold medal. The memory of his accomplishment is still brought up today when thinking of the greatest sporting moments in Latin American history. 

When Ecuadorian athlete Jefferson Perez won an Olympic gold medal in the Atlanta Olympic Games
Atlanta Olympic Games, 1996

Jefferson Perez
Credit: jeffersonperezq / Instagram

Ecuador doesn’t have a strong Olympic team, and medals have been few and far in between. That is why Jefferson Perez is a standout in the sporting history of this proud South American nation. During the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, Perez did the unthinkable. As Rihannon Walker writes in The Undefeated: “Ecuador’s Jefferson Pérez, Russia’s Ilya Markov and Mexico’s Bernardo Segura struggled to find separation from one another as they neared the finish of the 20-kilometer walk at the 1996 Olympics. Then Pérez began to take advantage of having the youngest legs of the trio and powered himself into the lead. As a crowd of 85,000 waited to see who would be the first to appear at Olympic Stadium, Pérez made a dramatic solo entrance and finished in 1 hour, 20 minutes and 7 seconds to become the youngest gold medalist in the 20-km event at 22. His victory also secured Ecuador’s first Olympic medal.” Just wow, a moment to remember forever. 

When Teófilo Stevenson reigned supreme in amateur boxing. Viva Cuba!
1972, 1975, and 1980 Olympic Games in Munich, Montreal, and Moscow

Most Iconic Moments In Sports
Credit: saintmax55 / Instagram

In the 1970s Muhammad Ali was the greatest name in heavyweight boxing, but he was perhaps not the best. Many believe that amateur legend Teofilo Stevenson of Cuba would have beat the great Ali. But, alas, Cuban boxers were not allowed to turn professional and a fight between the two never materialized. Stevenson’s amateur career extended 20 years, from 1969 to 1986. He won a total of three gold medals, un logro extraordinario

When “Las espectaculares morenas del Caribe” Cuban female volleyball team captured the world’s imagination and won three consecutive Olympic gold medals
Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 Olympic Games

Most Iconic Moments In Sports
Credit: AAuFzt9. Digital image. MSN. 

This group of amazing Cuban ladies totally dominated volleyball for three Olympic Games, and then won the bronze in their fourth attempt. Puro Cuba! 

When Costa Rican swimmer Claudia Poll surprised everyone and became a national icon
Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games

Most Iconic Moments In Sports
Credit: AAuFGZl. Digital image. MSN

This amazing woman was born in Nicaragua but later became a Costa Rican citizen. She won a gold medal in the Atlanta Games (a big year for Latino athletes!) and is considered the greatest sports figure in the history of the Central American nation. She also won two bronze medals in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. A true force of nature.

READ: 11 Unusual Sports You Can Find In Latin America

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