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This Baller Proved Mexicans Don’t Just Excel At Baseball, Boxing And Soccer

If you’re a fan of March Madness, you probably remember Lorenzo Mata.

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Credit: Jamie Squire / Getty

He’s the center from UCLA who went to a bunch of Final Fours and won several Pac-10 titles with the Bruins.

Mata was a big reason for UCLA’s three straight Final Four appearances.

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Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty

From 2006 to 2008, Mata teamed up with future NBA players Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Jordan Farmar and Arron Afflalo at UCLA. During Mata’s senior year, Mata accepted a move to the bench to make way for Kevin Love, providing energy off the bench.

He was also the pride of South Gate, California.

Credit: @14Matador14/Instagram

Mata has always represented his hometown of South Gate, California. He didn’t leave his city to play for a powerhouse private school. Mata stayed to play for South Gate High and took it to new heights.

Making it to UCLA’s storied basketball squad is no small feat, and Mata became an inspiration for other Latino ballers.

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Credit: Victor Decolongon / Getty

In 2008, Raymond Villalba, a South Gate High student, told the Los Angeles Times, “There haven’t been many Hispanics who do great at basketball. But he’s also getting a degree from UCLA and that doesn’t happen for many of us either. He’s a great role model.”

And Mata is grateful that his mother helped keep him on track.

Credit: @14matador14 / Instagram

Ron Davis, Mata’s high school history teacher, told the Los Angeles Times, “When I had him for U.S. history as an 11th grader, at first I noticed he wasn’t doing all the work. I spoke to his mother and his coach and pretty soon Lorenzo was buckling down. He was no dummy at all.”

So where’s Mata now? In Mexico, playing pro ball…

Credit: @14Matador14/Instagram

Mata went undrafted out of UCLA in 2008. That year, Mata joined the Los Angeles Lakers’ Summer League team with hopes of getting more attention from scouts. The center’s top choice was to play in Spain, but that soon changed and Mata elected to play his trade in Mexico.

He also plays for Mexico’s National Team, where he’s earned the nickname “El Matador.”

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Credit: LatinContent / Getty

Mata dreamed of playing for the NBA, but he’s still living the dream, bringing gold to his home away from home.

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Credit: LatinContent / Getty

Mata and the Mexican National Team captured the FIBA Americas Championship after defeating Puerto Rico in 2013. Mata was also a silver medalist with Mexico at the 2011 Pan American Games.

He’s currently playing for Pioneros in Cancún, Quintana Roo.

Credit: @14matador14 / Instagram

Not only does he have fans in Mexico…

Credit: @14Matador14

Yep, that’s Jesse Huerta of the pop group Jesse y Joy.

He’s also got lots of fans in Puerto Rico.

Credit: @14Matador14/Instagram

Why? Mata won the Baloncesto Superior Nacional championship with the Piratas de Quebradillas in 2013.

CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!! #piratasahi #puertorico #beastmode @cynthiacamacho_m

A video posted by LORENZO MATA (@14matador14) on

Credit: @14Matador14

Mata’s success in Mexico and playing club in Puerto Rico has led to many wild celebrations like this one.

Now that he’s made an impact in Mexico and Puerto Rico, Mata wants to continue inspiring young Latino basketball players.

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Credit: LatinContent / Getty

The list of NBA players from Mexico or with Mexican roots is slim. Although Mata doesn’t play in the NBA, his success with the Mexican National Team could inspire more Latinos to think big on the basketball court.

READ: Meet Some of the Latino Football Players Who Made NFL History

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Dodgers Win First World Series Championship Since 1988 And It’s Great To Be An Angeleno

Entertainment

Dodgers Win First World Series Championship Since 1988 And It’s Great To Be An Angeleno

Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the champions after 32 years. The bizarre year of Covid and social distancing was also a year of wins for Los Angeles after both the Lakers and Dodgers bring home the championships. The city was alive with energy after the historic and wonderful win.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the new World Series champions.

The baseball team has not won a World Series championship since 1988. This year, after a long 32-year drought, the Dodgers broke that curse and delivered LA a win during the time of Covid. The Dodgers went against the Tampa Bay Rays and battled it out in a nerve-wracking and nail-biting World Series.

Of course, there is a lot of love being showered on the Latino players.

Latinos are a major part of the Dodgers and their fanbase is huge. There is a reason that the nickname of the Dodgers is Los Doyers. There are four Latino pitchers on the Dodgers and they made themselves crucial parts of the team this season leading the team to the championship.

The Dodgers triumphed over the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series on Game 6. The teams kept battling it out for the first four games with the Dodgers winning the first and third. The Tampa Bay Rays won the second and fourth. Yet, the Dodgers came through at the end with victories in the fifth and sixth game to clinch the title.

The story overpowering the coverage of the Dodgers’ World Series win is Justin Turner.

The third baseman tested positive for Covid-19 during the game and was removed when the test came back positive. However, when the Dodgers won the sixth game, Turner ran onto the field without a mask. He was photographed holding the trophy, posing with the team for photos, and even taking selfies without wearing a mask.

It is a clear violation of Covid guidelines for the MLB. According to reports, officials sent security to remove Turner from the field because he was breaking safety guidelines. He allegedly refused to leave the field.

Fans have a lot of questions about how Turner caught Covid since the league was supposed to be operating in a bubble.

The MLB has had issues with some teams dealing with Covid infections but it had been a while since one had happened. Turner was tested the day before the game but it came back inconclusive, a pretty common issues with Covid testing right now. Turner was then tested before the game and when the results came back positive in the second inning, Turner was immediately removed.

The MLB has launched an investigation into Turner’s outright refusal to comply with Covid safety guidelines.

“Following the Dodgers’ victory, it is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others,’’ the Commissioner’s Office said in a statement. “While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner’s decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk. When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply.’’

READ: The Los Angeles Dodgers Are Playing In The World Series And People Are Excited

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Showtime’s ‘Bad Hombres’ Is A Documentary Highlighting The World’s Only Binational Baseball Team

Entertainment

Showtime’s ‘Bad Hombres’ Is A Documentary Highlighting The World’s Only Binational Baseball Team

tecolotes_2_laredos / Instagram

Sports have a way of bringing people together. The experience of rooting for your team is a unifying feeling that transcends borders and culture. Showtime is exploring the importance of sports through the lens of the Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos.

“Bad Hombres” is a documentary highlighting immigration under President Trump through baseball.

Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos are the only binational professional baseball team in the world. The team splits their home games between stadiums in Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Director Andrew Glazer wanted to highlight the immigration issue through a sports lens to offer a different layer to the narrative.

“Most of the people trying to come into the U.S. are families and children trying to escape horrible violence in Central America,” Glazer told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “That story has been told, so what I wanted to do was show people in a way that I thought would be relatable to what life is like on the border. What life is like on those two sides and how interconnected they are. The thing that struck me to be honest is that initially in Laredo, Texas was how pervasive Spanish is spoken.”

The documentary shows the struggles of the baseball team trying to make sense of the volatile U.S.-Mexico border relations.

The Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos split time playing their home games between two stadiums in the U.S. and Mexico. The Trump administration’s constant battle with Mexico and threats to close the border put the team’s season in jeopardy. A first look teaser shows team managers trying to coordinate the release of game tickets in time with the ever-changing immigration announcements from the Trump administration.

“Bad Hombres” speaks politics without directly addressing politics.

“Even though my film has an overarching political message, the players are not covertly or overtly political in any way,” Glazer told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “They are baseball players and they are living their lives and a lot of them are trying to make it to the majors and some of them were in the majors and are now finishing their careers. There wasn’t a whole lot of political discussions.”

Glazer made sure to highlight the depths and complexities of the team members dealing with the political climate without politics.

“Inherently, what made the team fascinating is you had players from the U.S. who were Anglo-American players and Mexican American players who had a different perspective,” Glazer told DJ Sixsmith. “Then you had Mexican players and some Dominican players and Cuban and people from everywhere else. There were different languages and different perspectives. Seeing how that developed over time was pretty fascinating.”

“Bad Hombres” is streaming on Showtime.

READ: Veronica Alvarez Is The Coach For The Oakland A’s And Her Presence Is Giving Girls A Chance To Pursue Baseball

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