Entertainment

Bet You Didn’t Know These 25 Athletes Are Latino

The NFL, NBA, MLB and FIFA are full of athletes you probably didn’t know are Latino. If you follow any of these sports, I challenge you to identify them.

1. Tony Romo

Source: Tony Romo. Digital Image. Sporting News. December 15, 2016.

Romo was a former quarterback after spending his earlier days in Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League for 14 seasons. Romo holds several Cowboys records under his sleeve, including passing yards, passing touchdowns, games with more than three touchdown passes, and most games with at least 300 passing yards. He retired in 2016 after a preseason back injury. Currently, he is an NFL analyst on CBS Sports for their telecasts show. Although he is U.S.-born, he has Mexican heritage on his grandfather’s side.

2. Dan Haren

Source: Dan Haren. Digital Image. MLB. March 8, 2016.

He is a former American professional baseball pitcher and among the small group of Major League Baseball (MLB) pitchers to have beaten all the 30 major league teams. He completed his career with an incredible three All-Star game appearances and was named the seventh best strikeout-to-walk ratio in the major league history.

Haren was born in California but has Irish and Mexican backgrounds.

3. Nene

Source: Nene. Digital Image. Washington Post. February 10, 2013.

The professional basketball player is among the sports superstars who rocked our screens for years when he played for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). His successful three-year stint in Brazil earned him an NBA invitation to Chicago. He would later be a victim of injuries which saw him miss a lot of matches. During his career, he received many awards including being named second in the NBA in field goal percentage, fifth for NBA Most Improved Player award, among others.

This Houston Rockets player was actually born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Doesn’t he look sexier now?

4. Adam LaRoche

Source: Adam LaRoche. Digital Image. Dead Spin. April 13, 2016.

Having played in 12 seasons in the Major League Baseball (MLB), Adam LaRoche was named as a senior in an All-American baseball. His major achievements were his two milestones where he reached his career-high 33rd home run recording a career-high of 100RB and earning him the first Gold Glove including the Silver Slugger Award. Don’t get fooled by his looks, Adam LaRoche is proud of his Mexican roots on his father side.

5. Anderson Varejao

Source: Anderson Varejao. Digital Image. Sporting News. May 29, 2015.

He is a 13-year NBA veteran, 12 of which were spent playing for Cleveland Cavaliers. Between 2002 and 2014, he competed in every world championship and finally won a gold medal at Pan American Games in 2003. It is while at Golden State Warriors that he was given a championship ring after winning the NBA championship in 2017. Varejao was born in Colatina, Brazil. Besides playing for the Golden State Warriors he has actually played on Brazil’s national team!

6. Al Horford

Source: Al Horford. Digital Image. Slam Online. October 4, 2016.

Alfred Joel Horford Reynoso, Boston Celtics players, was born in the Dominican Republic. He played a key role as the starting center on the Gators team that won the back-to-back NCAA national championships in 2006 and 2007. He also holds several other achievements under his belt, including a five-time NBA All-Star winner, the first Hawks pick to earn an All-Star berth after Kevin Willis in 1992, and a bronze medalist at the FIBA Americas Championship which earned him All-Tournament honors.

7. Walter Herrmann

Source: Walter Herrmann. Digital Image. Marca. August 17, 2009.

He was a key player of the senior squad in the Argentine basketball lineup. His team won the gold medal in the memorable 2004 Olympic Games. During his time at Flamengo, he played in the top-level Brazilian League and won the 2014 edition of the FIBA Intercontinental Cup.  During the 2015 and 2016 season, Walter played for San Lorenzo club and they became champions of the Argentine League, as well as the Argentine League’s Finals MVP title. Former Detroit Pistons player, was born in  Venado Tuernto, Argentina.

8. Andre Ethier

Source: Andre Ethier. Digital Image. Realtor. Mar 15, 2017.

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Andre Ethier is Mexican on his mother’s side. He is a former professional American baseball outfielder who played in the Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Los Angeles Dodgers. His major achievement includes a Silver Slugger Award in 2009, All-Star selections in 2010-2011, and a Gold Glove Award in 2011 alongside other celebrities such as Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw giving the Dodgers team three Gold Glove winners in one year for the first time in baseball history.

9. Rudy Fernandez

Source: Rudy Fernandez. Digital Image. Solo Basket.

Born in Mallorca, Spain, Rudy Fernandez has played both in the NBA and the European Basketball League. The three-time All-EuroLeague Team selection who eventually won the league in 2015-2018, was also an NBA legend and an All-Rookie Second Team member. Currently, he is representative of the senior Spanish national basketball team. Among his achievements are the FIBA World Cup he won in 2006, two magnificent Olympic silver medals back in 2008-2012, and a bronze medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics.

10. Manu Ginobili

Source: Manu Ginobili. Digital Image. Business Insider. May 23, 2017.

Though retired from professional basketball, Ginobili became one of the two known players to win a EuroLeague title, an Olympic gold medal, and an NBA championship. The four-time NBA champion was nicknamed “Big Three” alongside teammates Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. To add to his achievement collections, he has won two Italian League MVP awards, EuroLeague championship in 2001, the EuroLeague Finals MVP and the Triple Crown. Born Emanuel David Ginoblini, this former San Antonio Spurs player is Argentinian-Born.

11. Jeff Garcia

Source: Jeff Garcia. Digital Image. Sportige.  October 23, 2013.

Garcia has Mexican and Irish heritage. The former Canadian football and American football quarterback is a four-time NFL Pro Bowl selection and earned UPI All-America honors in 1992. He is one out of ten quarterbacks who have achieved an overwhelming thirty-touchdown passing season two consecutive times in his career. Also, he is one of only thirteen other quarterbacks to achieve a 99-yard touchdown pass.

12. Tiago Splitter

Source: Tiago Splitter. Digital Image. Sacurrent. July 1, 2015.

Tiago Splitter was born in Blumenau, Brazil.The forme basketball player spent seven seasons in the NBA. He is a three-time All-EuroLeague Team selection and the first Brazilian player to win an NBA championship in 2014 with San Antonio Spurs.  He won gold medals with Brazilian national basketball team at the FIBA Americas Championship (2005, 2009, 2011), Pan American Games in 2003, and South American Championship in 2003. Unfortunately, he announced his retirement in February 2018 following a hip injury that affected his career.

13. Luis Scola

CREDIT: Indiana Pacers forward Luis Scola shoots a free throw against the Chicago Bulls in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Friday, March 21, 2014. Indiana won 91-79. (AP Photo/R Brent Smith)
Source: Luis Scola. Digital Image. La Tercera.

From Argentina to China!  The Argentine professional basketball player was voted to the famous NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2007. Earlier in 2004, he won an Olympic medal and a bronze medal in the Summer Olympics in 2008. As a result of these achievements, he was named the flagbearer for Argentina’s national team at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Scola now plays in the Chinese Basketball Association

14. Ted Williams

Source: Ted Williams. Digital Image. Doc Stull. September 19, 2016.

Ted was a nineteen-time All-Start, a six-time American League (AL) batting champion, a two-time award winner of the AL Most Valuable Player Award, and a two-time winner of the Triple Crown. The legend even dedicated three years of his time to serve in the Marine Corps and the United States Navy during World War II.

Williams was born in California but had Mexican background. Some claim he was the first latino baseball star.

15. Leandro Barbosa

Source: Leandro Barbosa. Digital Image. NBC Sports. January 18, 2013.

Another Brazilian on the list! Barbosa was born in Sao Paulo and won the highly contested NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award including an NBA championship with the Warriors. On the list of his accomplishments is the Brazilian Basketball League he won with Bauru. After he reassigned with Warriors in 2015, he helped the team win an NBA record of 73 games to record an all-time high from the record set in 1995 and 1996 by Chicago Bulls.

16. Ryan Lochte

Source: Ryan Lochte. Digital Image. LA Times. April 27, 2017.

The twelve-time Olympic medalist holds impressive world records in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay and 4×200-meter freestyle long-course. Currently, he is the world record holder in the 400-meter individual medley short course and 200-meter individual medley long and short course. The incredible performance in these competitions has earned him several awards including the World Swimmer of the Year Award, SwimSwam’s Swammy Award, and a two-time American Swimmer of the Year Award. Lochte was born in New York but is Cuban on his mother’s side. Who knew?

17. Ronda Rousey

Source: Ronda Rousey. Digital Image. Mike Swick. November 21, 2017.

To add to her gifts, Rousey is a professional wrestler, a mixed martial artist, an actress, author, and judoka. Currently, she is signed to WWE and won the Raw Women’s Champion in her first reign. She has had successes in both the King of the Cage and Strikeforce events where she was crowned the last ever Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Ronda has also enjoyed great success as an actress and author by featuring in the films The Expendables, Furious 7, and Mile 22. She further released her autobiography in 2015 called My Fight/Your Fight.  She has Venezuelan and Trinidadian roots!

Read: 20 Facts About Ronda Rousey’s Strength Before Her Next Big Fight

18. Carmello Anthony

Source: Carmelo Anthony. Digital Image. Business Insider. September 23, 2017.

Anthony as Puerto Rican and Venezuelan background on his father side. The Houston Rocket’s basketball team player is a ten-time NBA All-Star and six times All-NBA Team member. In 2003, he kicked his career and won the national championship as a freshman with Syracuse Orange. He was also crowned as the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Tournament. He was the bronze medalist in 2004 Summer Olympics and a gold medalist at the Summer Olympics in 2008, 2012, and 2016. On top of that, he holds the title for the all-time leading scores in the United States Olympics men’s national basketball team.

19. Victor Cruz

Source: Victor Cruz. Digital Image. Chicago Tribune. May 30, 2017.

Known for his role as a wide receiver in American football, Victor Cruz has a couple of feats under his sleeve. He won the Super Bowl XLVI with New York Giants in 2012 and the explosive 99-yard touchdown catch during his time in the Giants against New York Jets. His impressive 89 yards after the catch is one of the most recorded ever by a receiver on a 99-yard reception. Cruz is known for his popular yet hilarious celebration of a salsa dance after every touchdown. Quite an entertaining basketball player! He was born in New Jersey to a Puerto Rican mother.

20. Reggie Jackson

Source: Reggie Jackson. Digital image. Sports Illustrated.

he flamboyant and outspoken Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder is known for his incredible postseason achievements. In 1971, Jackson helped lead the Athletics to the all-time American League Eastern Division Title with an impressive 32 home runs. Two years later (1973), he became the unanimous winner of the popular American League Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. The crowning of his tremendous achievement in his career came on August 1993, when he was named the 216th inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Surprisingly, he was the only player to be honored in that year.

Reginald “Reggie” Martinez, born in Pennsylvania, is Puerto Rican on his father’s side.

21. James Rodriguez

Source: James Rodriguez. Digital Image. Colombia. July 27, 2017.

Former Real Madrid star, was born in Cucuta, Colombia. The Colombian footballer now plays as an attacking midfielder or winger for Bayern Munich. From his vision, technique, and playmaking skills, it’s no doubt that he is one of the best players of his generation. His career kicked off when he won the Toulon Tournament in 2011 with Colombia’s under-20 team. Following his outstanding performance in the tournament, he was included in the senior squad and played in the 2014 FIFA World cup where he won the Golden Boot as the top scorer.

22. Radamel Falcao

Source: Radamel Falcao. Digital Image. Goal.

Simply known as Falcao, the Monaco FC star was born in Santa Marta, Colombia. The Colombian striker is the captain for both Monaco and Colombia national team. During his era in River Plate, he won the 2007 and 2008 Clausura tournament. He also won several titles, including the Primeira Liga and Europa League in 2011. While at club Porto, he became their all-time top goalscorer in most international club competitions setting the record for the most goals scored (17) in a European campaign. He is also the first Colombian to receive the Portuguese Golden Ball award.

23. Keylor Navas

Source: Keylor Navas. Digital Image. Sin Cuento. October 17, 2017.

The Costa Rican footballer who plays the role of a goalkeeper for Real Madrid and Costa Rica national team has won six national championships including the CONCACAF Champions Cup in 2005. In 2014, he went on to become La Liga Player of the Month, making him the first goalkeeper to win the award. The same season, he was declared the goalkeeper with most saves in La Liga at a record of 267. His incredible performance in the 2017-2018 Champions League played a huge role in his nomination as the 2017-2018 Champions League Goalkeeper of the Season.

24. Laurie Hernandez

Source: Laurie Hernandez. Digital Image. Huffington Post. January 12, 2017.

Olympic gymnast and winner of Dancing with the Stars is Puerto Rican descent. Her appearance in the 2016 Summer Olympics couldn’t go unnoticed when she won the gold medal in the overall team event and a silver medal on the balance beam. In the same year, Laurie Hernandez featured in the Dancing with the Stars and won season 23 with partner Val Chmerkovskiy.

25. Gonzalo Higuain

Source: Gonzalo Higuain.  Digital Image. Sporty News. October 9, 2017.

This hottie was actually born in France but is Argentinian descent and plays for the national team. His era in the world’s favorite Spanish clubs saw him win several titles including three La Liga titles and an award for scoring 107 goals in 190 leagues appearances. After his move to Napoli, he completed the season with a win of the Coppa Italia in his first season. Still, in Napoli, the 2015 ad 2016 season was another successful moment where he scored 36 league goals and won the Capocannoniere title. Higuain is currently a full Argentina international, and he has represented the country in three FIFA World Cups.

The Young Girl Struck By A Foul Ball Last Year By Cubs Player Has Permanent Brain Damage

Entertainment

The Young Girl Struck By A Foul Ball Last Year By Cubs Player Has Permanent Brain Damage

albertalmorajr / Instagram

There is terrible news concerning a two-year-old girl that was struck by a foul ball during an Astros game at Minute Maid Park last May. According to an attorney representing her family, the young girl sustained permanent brain damage from the injury and continues to receive anti-seizure medication. Her family fears the injury could put her at risk of seizures for the rest of her life. “She has an injury to a part of the brain, and it is permanent,” attorney Richard Mithoff told the Houston Chronicle. “She remains subject to seizures and is on medication and will be, perhaps, for the rest of her life. That may or may not be resolved.”

The line drive foul ball came off the bat of Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, who was visibly in shock when he saw that the young girl was injured. “It’s opened my eyes to other things,” Almora told the AP a few days after the incident. “I never want it to happen again.”

The young girl, whose identity has not been released, was sitting on her grandfather’s lap seated right next to third base, an area that had no net protection. The foul ball made its way into the stands and struck her in the back of the head. 

The extent of the injury revealed that the girl’s central nervous system was certainly affected by the brain injury, in a way that bears similarities to that of a stroke, doctors said. This part of the brain when injured can cause “seizures, loss of spatial awareness and loss of sensation.” The girl’s parents reported that she has had “periods of unresponsiveness and staring spells, frequent headaches and night terrors,” since the incident. 

When the injury initially happened, the girl had a fractured skull and suffered a seizure. She would also endure associated subdural bleeding, brain contusions, and brain edema. As of now, there has been no notice of any legal action taken against the Astros organization or whether the family intends to do so. NBC reports that the girl’s family has paid for all of her medical bills. 

“She is able to continue with much of her routine as a girl her age would do, but her parents have to be particularly vigilant, as they are,” Mithoff said. “She has wonderful parents and is receiving wonderful care. They obviously are concerned, but she is blessed with a family that is doing relatively well, considering everything.”

If there are any positives to come out of this is Major League Baseball being pushed to take action on fan safety. Just last month, it made the announcement that “all 30 clubs will have netting in place that extends substantially beyond the far end of the dugout.” 

After the incident, the Astors replaced netting and expanded it from foul line to foul line in August, following the same moves by the Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals in July. The move to extend netting took years and multiple fan injuries for MLB to take action.

In December, MLB finally made the announcement that all 30 clubs would have extended netting in time for the 2020 season. Seven ballparks will have extended netting from foul pole to foul pole and 15 will extend nets to the where the stands angle away from the field of play. The other eight ballparks will have netting that extends “substantially beyond the far end of the dugout,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said. 

“There’s a lot of kids coming to the games — young kids who want to watch us play, and the balls come in hard,” Kris Bryant, Almora’s teammate said after the incident. “I mean, the speed of the game is quick, and I think any safety measure we can take to make sure that the fans are safe, we should do it.”

The issue of ballpark safety has been a hot topic issue in recent years as the number of fans being struck in the stands has increased. According to an NBC News investigation last October, there had been at least 808 reports of injuries to fans from baseballs from 2012 to 2019. Some of those injuries included concussions and permanent vision loss. 

“The family is gratified by the announcement from Major League Baseball that the netting will be extended in all 30 ballparks,” Mithoff said. “This is obviously a very significant step forward.”

READ: Pictures Speak Louder Than Words—18 Photos That Show Just How Devastating Australia’s Bushfires Have Been

As Andy Ruiz Jr. Gets Set For A Rematch Against Anthony Joshua, He’s Already A Champion For Many Latinos

Entertainment

As Andy Ruiz Jr. Gets Set For A Rematch Against Anthony Joshua, He’s Already A Champion For Many Latinos

andy_destroyer13 / Instagram

Underdog is a word that gets tossed around quite frequently in the world of sports. That may be because as humans we love the story of the often-counted out, disregarded and overlooked individual coming out on top. David vs Goliath. Rocky vs Apollo Creed. The list goes on.

This past June, Latinos got their own modern-day underdog story in the upset victory of Andy Ruiz Jr. over Anthony Joshua. It was a moment that will live on among the biggest upsets in sports within the past several decades. As the boxing world gets set for the highly anticipated rematch between Ruiz and Joshua, many Latinos have already won before Ruiz has even put on a pair of gloves. 

The-then 268 pound Ruiz knocked out three-belt heavyweight champion Joshua to become the first boxer of Mexican descent to win a heavyweight title. But as every underdog story goes, the victory didn’t come easy or expected.

Ruiz wasn’t even supposed to be at the fight until he was called in as a last-minute replacement for Jarrell Miller, who submitted three positive drug tests. Ruiz was dubbed “overweight,” “out of shape,” and a fill-in of what was supposed to be Joshua’s coming out party in his first fight in the United States. Ruiz entered the match as a +1100 underdog with a résumé of victories that took place in small casino venues from Tijuana to Tucson. 

Suddenly, he’d be fighting against one of the most feared boxers in Joshua in one of the most famous arenas in the world, Madison Square Garden in New York City.  

To put it in simplest terms, Ruiz had won the lottery without getting a single cent. Remember how I said humans love underdog stories? Yeah, this had all the makings of an underdog story but the easiest part of the script was already written. The world was just waiting for Ruiz to do his part

Seven rounds of punches later, Ruiz had accomplished what few had ever expected a man of his background, style and size to ever accomplish in a boxing ring. But more importantly, Ruiz became an inspiration to so many Latinos in a time when anti-Latino sentiment seems to be the only thing seen in the headlines. 

Whether it be from the U.S. president, a white-supremacist shooter targeting “Mexicans” in El Paso, Texas and the constant narrative of an “invasion” from the Southern Border. But on June 2, 2019, the world woke up to a headline that didn’t read “Joshua KO’s Ruiz” or “Ruiz Who?”, they read “Ruiz Becomes First Mexican Heavyweight Champion.” 

“It means a lot, especially knowing I’ve worked from 6 years old to get to where I’m at now,” Ruiz told the LA Times after the fight. “But it won’t mean something only to me. Each Mexican has his own dream, and I’ve come to believe as long as we focus, you can accomplish anything you want. So maybe by winning, I can change some minds.”

What has ensued since that legendary June night is a celebratory tour that few Mexican boxers have ever had the pleasure of enjoying. 

Overnight, Ruiz became a folk hero of some sorts to countless of Latinos who embraced the boxer and his underdog story. Ruiz came from humble beginnings, born in Imperial Valley, California and was raised by Mexican immigrant parents. His journey began at the age of six when he started his boxing career and would train long days and nights with his father, Andy Ruiz Sr. He would take his son with him for daily training sessions in Mexicali and would endure 90-minute waits at the border crossing. 

Ruiz was born already counted out and that helped him become the fighter he is today.

Credit: andy_destroyer13 / Instagram

That rugged street mentality was etched in his mind from a young age and still follows him to this day. 

“We know their struggles,”  Jorge Munoz, director of Sparta boxing club where Ruiz would train in his hometown of the  Imperial Valley, told The Guardian. “We know how many times they wanted to give up. And the people in the boxing world, they understand how much you go to tournaments and you sacrifice, sometimes you don’t have food, you come back and you try to raise the money to go somewhere else and all these struggles you go through with one goal that you might never get the chance for.”

What ensued after his victory was a championship tour the likes of which a Mexican boxer had never seen. Ruiz met with the Mexican president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. He made an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” There was even a photoshoot with GQ Mexico. The crowning moment was a hometown parade on June 22 in the Imperial Valley where thousands of fans showed up to cheer the champ. 

“He’s one of us, so this is a big deal,” Reyna Gutierrez, a fan of Ruiz who was at that parade, told the Desert Sun. “People might not understand. He’s representing our community and he’s the first Mexican heavyweight champion. We’re so proud of that.”

Whatever the rematch result may be, it won’t matter to many Latinos. Ruiz has already done more than bring home a title, he’s become an underdog that Latinos can call their own.

The rematch bout is being billed as the “Clash on the Dunes,” as Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) will take on Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia about six months after history was made. One day before the fight, Ruiz already made headlines at the official weigh-in as he tipped the scale coming in at a surprising 283.7 pounds, 15 pounds heavier than in his first fight. 

“I kind of wanted to be a little over what I was last time so I could be stronger and feel actually a little better than in the first fight,” Joshua told Yahoo Sports. “We were [planning to be 268], but they were making us wait before we got to the scales and so I had already ate. Plus, I weighed with all my clothes. That’s one of the reasons why I weighed probably too much

While the extra pounds might be concerning to some, experts and analysts see the match as a tossup. For Ruiz, he likes being counted out. He thrives on it. It’s the only way he knows how to feel entering the boxing ring. 

“I never gave up, after everybody was telling me that I wasn’t gonna do nothing (because of) the way that I look … I kept training, I kept listening to my father, my team (and) my coaches. … When I got knocked down, I got back up like the warrior that I am. … (To) all the kids that have dreams, dream big,” Ruiz said at his hometown parade

Never give up. Get back up. Dream big. 

Yes, those are the words that sound like the description of an underdog. Andy Ruiz knows too well about that label and so do many Latinos. That’s why when that bell rings in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, the world will be breathing in their collective breath as the latest chapter in this underdog story is written. 

Latinos wouldn’t have it any other way. 

READ: It’s Been 14 Years Since The Untimely Death Of Wrestling Icon Eddie Guerrero And His Legacy Is More Relevant Today Than Ever