The San Antonio Spurs just took shade throwing to a whole other level.
The San Antonio Spurs Coyote took to the court for a very special and exceptionally shady half-time show. In case you didn’t already know, Mariah Carey has been caught up in a bit of controversy tied to her New Year’s Eve performance in New York City. While Carey was performing during New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, she experienced some technical difficulties with her backing track and ended up walking around the stage and talking to the crowd more than singing.
Latinos have smashed almost every glass ceiling in professional sports in the United States. It is common to see Dominicans (did anyone say Alex Rodriguez?), Puerto Ricans, Venezuelans and Mexicans, among others, hit the ball out of the park or pitch the perfect game in professional Major League Baseball.
World boxing is dominated by Mexicans and Mexican-Americans (Saúl Canelo Álvarez just signed the richest contract for any athlete in history with streaming service DAZN, $350 million for eleven fights over six years). However, there are two sporting arenas that remain elusive for nuestra gente: the NFL and the NBA. Latinos who have become stars in basketball or football are few and far in between, which makes the improbable journey of Dominican NBA player Felipe López all the more extraordinary.
López’s life and career is the subject matter of the new film Dominican Dream, which launched at the Tribeca Film Festival this May 2019. Here are some facts for this true legend and one of the many faces of Latino pride in the United States professional sports landscape.
Here’s all you need to know about the film that honors Felipe López.
Joining great documentaries on basketball, such as the unmissable Hoop Dreams, this feature directed by Jonathan Hock tells the rags-to-riches story of our beloved López, who in 1994, at the mere age of 17, was the hottest prospect in basketball. His journey all the way to the NBA was a given. Los sueños sí pueden cumplirse. This film is part of ESPN’s series 30 for 30. The director had previously helmed Through the Fire, the story of another young basketball star, Sebastian Telfair. You can watch the trailer here.
He was once known as “the Dominican Michael Jordan.”
Felipe’s smart moves, athleticism, and quick reactions earned him the moniker of “the Dominican Michael Jordan”. To be compared to the greatest basketball player of all time is quite something, and that in itself turned Felipe into a bastion of Dominican pride. In fact, Felipe wanted the film to be more about immigration than the courts. He told CBS: “Jonathan Hock introduced it to me not as a basketball story, but more as an immigration story. I loved it because to me, it’s a topic that we are living. There are so many migrating families going through adversity coming into the country.”
His journey in the NBA was bittersweet.
Felipe was touted as the next big thing in professional sports after being an absolute star in St John’s High School. He played only for four seasons in the NBA, which makes his journey a bit of an anticlimactic and tragic one for some. After the NBA, where he played for the Vancouver Grizzlies, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Washington Wizards. He never got to hold the prized championship trophy.
López moved to the United States with his family when he was only 14 years old.
Luis Felipe (his full, telenovela name!) was born on December 19, 1974, in Santiago. With his family, he then settled in the New York area when he was a teenager. Just three years after arriving in los estates, he was gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine, perhaps the most important sports publication in the world.
His dad was also a sportsman: de tal palo tal astilla.
Like many in the isla bonita, Felipe’s dad had a fondness for baseball. He participated in the amateur baseball league of the Dominican Republic.
He played for Rice High School in New York City. Guess who else came out of New York high schools.
No other than NBA stars Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then known as Lew Alcindor) and Dean Meminger, who at the time was also considered top prospects.
He played college basketball for St. John’s Red Storm.
This team is proudly New Yorker and hails from St. John’s University in Queens. The team plays in the Big East Conference and has one of the biggest followings in the NCAA. What a way to start!
López made quite a mark in his college team.
He is one of the top four scorers (he recently went from third to fourth place) in the team’s history. Not bad for a recent migrant trying to achieve his dreams, eh!
He was first picked by the San Antonio Spurs in the 1998 NBA Draft.
He never got to play with stars like David Robinson, as he was quickly exchanged for Antonio Daniels and went to play for the Canadian team Vancouver Grizzlies. The fact that the NBA was just testing the ground in the Canadian market might have contributed to the bumpy road that Felipe had during his first steps in the league. One can only imagine what he could have accomplished with the San Antonio Spurs.
He played 112 games for the Grizzlies.
As happens with a lot of professional athletes that are traded like objects (there are serious ethical issues with this), Felipe was then sent to play with the Washington Wizards in 2000. He then became a free agent and played with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team with which he last saw action in the NBA. He signed with the Dallas Mavericks and trained with Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Clippers, but never played a game with these teams. We can see that his career was full of ups and downs, through which he kept his cool and a positive and generous attitude.
His game in the NBA never quite reached the level of his high school and college days.
In the NBA he averaged 5.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and one assist per game. To be honest, these are OK numbers, but nothing too impressive by superstar standards.
He was a pioneer, though: he was the first high-school athlete to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, sí señor.
Can you imagine being a Latino kid in the 1990s and see this cover? The Statue of Liberty on the background and a playful yet imposing Afro-Latino dynamo being the face of basketball? There perhaps too many expectations around Felipe’s career, which he acknowledged in an interview for SI, saying he wasn’t able to“make it all come together … and make it be the story that everyone wanted it to be.”
He is generous by nature and he established The Felipe Lopez Foundation
As a teenager, Lopez saw a way out of trouble (he was too busy shooting hoops!), but he knows that not all kids have the same opportunities. Out of his church in the South Bronx, he offers a space for kids from 5 to 17 years-old to be better students and better peers. Way to go, hermano! By the way, he also works with USA Basketball to develop clinics all around the country. We think that Felipe’s Dominican-American Dream is alive and well, thank you very much.
This year’s Billboard Music Awards show was popping and it was more than just the show. The celebrities went all out in some of the most extreme ways and it was all caught on social media. Cardi B led the pack with 21 nominations, making it the biggest opportunity for Latino wins yet. Drake swept the awards taking home 12 awards to bring his net total to 27 Billboard awards, breaking Taylor Swift’s record. BTS was everywhere talking to everyone including Becky G. We can’t forget Mariah Carey’s speech about all of the drama she experienced in her career.
The two-hour red carpet pre-show got real steamy, thanks to Cardi B and husband, Offset.
The two had a brief split in late 2018 but they’re hotter than ever after the release of R-rated music video “Clout,” which now has over 55 million views on YouTube.
Fans were shook to see Cardi’s killer abs, less than a year after giving birth.
Our first thought was, ‘dang, that’s an incredible contouring job.’ Pero, no. From every angle, Cardi is ripped, and you didn’t see the BBMA’s if you didn’t revel in Cardi’s abs.
Becky G revealed that she’s working on her Spanish language album and an English EP.
“I am working on my Spanish album at the moment and I’m also working on my English EP. So I have both worlds going on at the same time, and living in both worlds simultaneously my whole life. It’s challenging as an artist.” -Becky G
After an explicit red carpet photo went viral, Cardi gave the class an anatomy lesson backstage.
She posted a nearly nude video to set the record straight, all while shouting, “Motherf**kers going showing this f**king picture, now you’re all photoshopping it even more like, ‘Cardi pussy, Cardi pussy.’ First of all, that ain’t my pussy. My pussy right here. This is where I birthed my daughter from. This right here, you know the part that shows when I go like this, that’s just my a**!”
Thank you, Cardi, for this valuable lesson that we all enjoyed.
Kelly Clarkson performed covers of both “MIA” by Bad Bunny and “I Like It” by Cardi B.
After show opener, Taylor Swift performed “ME!,” we witnessed Kelly Clarkson covering a slew of top hits from 2018, including Spanish language music. While it’s great that Latin music is becoming more mainstream, we wonder where Clarkson received the invitation to cover these songs. Bad Bunny invited Drake to collaborate and we got a viral sensation. What are your thoughts on a white country singer singing viral Latin hits at the BBMAs? Comment below.
Madonna and Maluma performed their new collaboration “Medellín” on stage with the help of some holograms.
The performance was fine until things got a little questionable. During the show, Madonna produces a riding crop and started to play with Maluma in a way that would make our parents gasp and cover our adult eyes.
But, what do you expect from the song that showed Madonna licking Maluma’s toes in the music video?
Ozuna swept the Latin-specific Billboard Music Awards.
Ozuna was nominated for five awards and took home three! The Top Latin Song of the year was, no surprise, “Te Boté (Remix). His album, Aura, also won the Latin Album of the year and all of the above earned him Latin Artist of the year! Felicidades, Ozuna!
Cardi took home six Billboard awards.
In a contentious battle between Cardi and Nicki Minaj, Cardi took home the Rap Female Artist award for the second year in a row. Sensational “I Like It” earned her the top Rap Song award and “Girls Like You” won her the Hot 100 Song, Collaboration, Radio Song and Top Selling Song awards. Maroon 5 was not present at the ceremony and Cardi happily accepted all four trophies on everyone’s behalf.
During Cardi’s acceptance speech for Top Rap Song, the audience couldn’t hold back their applause.
Cardi began her acceptance speech by telling the world that the trophy belongs to her fans… “the gang, gang, gang.” As the crowd roared in applause, she had to tell them she wasn’t finished yet.
“I know y’all love me. If you got a favorite artist, support them. Stream their music. Listen to their music. Tell a friend to tell a friend about their music to get them on the chart, an upcoming artist or artists that’s already out there. Support their music. Be the biggest fan that you can be.”
Mariah Carey took home the Icon Award, but not before performing a medley of her most iconic songs through the decades.
In an emotional acceptance speech, Carey bared it all:
“I still feel like that lost interracial child who had a lot of nerve to believe I could succeed at anything at all in this world. But I did believe, because I had to.
I want to thank all the people who’ve been with me on this journey through the highs and lows, through the struggles –through your struggles and mine. To anybody who doesn’t allow themselves to be broken, and keeps getting up, and keeps holding on, and keeps standing tall, and keeps on believing, and keeps rising, I celebrate you tonight. And to anyone who’s ever told me that a song I wrote helped save your life, I thank you because you saved mine, and I’ll be eternally grateful.”