Top 10 Latino NBA Players
When you think of the basketball or the NBA, you may not think there are many Latino players. That’s also what we thought, until we dug a little bit deeper, and found out there are more Latin NBA players than we thought! Today we’re going to countdown our Top 10 Latino NBA players, including many players who are currently in the 2019 NBA playoffs! Let us know which one of these players is your favorite in the comments below! Let’s get started!
10. Leandro Barbosa
Brazilian native Leandro Barbosa was nicknamed “The Brazilian Blur” because of his quickness and agility. He was named Sixth-Man of the year in 2007 with the Phoenix Suns, and he became an NBA Champion in 2015 with the Golden State Warriors. The following year, in 2016, Barbosa and the Warriors were SO close to winning another title, but Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled off the greatest comeback in NBA history, to beat Barbosa and the Warriors. After one more season, Leandro Barbosa decided to bring his talents back to his home country, and currently plays for a Brazilian club called Minas.
9. Robin Lopez
Robin Lopez, NBA center of Cuban descent joined the league in 2008, and has been a dominant presence ever since. He got a slow start for most of his career until he joined the Chicago Bulls in 2016, where he was finally given a spot to shine. Although the team hasn’t performed so well recently, the 7-ft tall giant still continues to show us his strength and continues to average 9.5-11.8 points per game with the Bulls. He is also the twin brother of Brook Lopez, who will be mentioned later on in this list!
Fellow Brazilian to Leandro Barbosa, Nenê is a veteran center in the NBA, and currently plays for the Houston Rockets, who are also a favorite to win the NBA championship this year. Nenê was actually born with the name Maybyner Rodney Hilário, but was always called “Nenê”or “baby”in Brazilian Portuguese by his friends and family because he was the youngest among his siblings and friends. He later legally got his name changed to Nenê, but he is far from a “baby” on the basketball court. He is an important role-player this year with the Rockets, and we wish Nene good luck in the rest of this year’s playoffs!
7. J.J. Barea
Jose Juan Barea Mora, better known as “J.J.”Barea is a veteran Puerto Rican guard currently playing for the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks was the team which first welcomed Barea to the NBA, and it was also where he won his NBA Championship in 2011! However, in the following year, he was moved to the Minnesota Timberwolves. But maybe it was fate, because, in 3 years, J.J. returned to Dallas, and has been with them ever since! The veteran guard continues to play a crucial role in the Mavericks offense, as he has consistently over 10 points per game every year since 2015. He also won the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for his commitment and outstanding service to his community. Maybe that’s why he’s one of the most loved players in Dallas and throughout the league!
6. Marc Gasol
Marc Gasol, younger brother to Pau Gasol is from Barcelona, Spain, so he and his brother are technically not from a Latin American country. But still, there was no way we would make the list without including the both of these star-NBA centers, so we were okay with making an exception. Due to his older brother’s skill and achievements, there were high expectations for Marc Gasol when he entered the league in 2008. He definitely rose to the occasion, as he soon became the superstar of the Memphis Grizzlies. Since then, he’s been named an NBA All-Star 3 times, an All-NBA team player 2 times, and won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2013. Earlier this year, he was traded to the Toronto Raptors, who are also currently fighting in the NBA playoffs. We hope Marc Gasol and his new teammates in Toronto can make it far this year, and maybe even win an NBA title!
5. Al Horford
Al Horford entered the league in 2007, and has since then been named an All-Star 5 Times! In 2016, he joined the Boston Celtics, where he now plays a crucial role in the team’s success. Standing 6 ft. 10 inches, he can play both the Center position and the power forward position, and can shoot the long range 3-pointer as well! Horford and the Boston Celtics are currently facing off against the Milwaukee Bucks (at the time this article is being written), and hope to upset the powerhouse Bucks team to move on in the NBA playoffs. Either way, Horford still has many years of great basketball in him, and we’re excited to see what he has in store for us! (It took us by surprise when we found out Al Horford was a Dominican Native! Let us know in the comments if you knew he was Dominican!)
4. Pau Gasol
Although Pau Gasol is not technically Latino, we had to include the legendary center in this line-up just like we did for his brother, simply because Pau is one of the most influential Spanish speaking players in NBA history. When the young man of Cuban descent entered the league in 2002, he immediately showed the world his power. He won rookie of the year in 2002, which has only been done by 3 international players, EVER! He is most well-known for his dynamic partnership with the all-time-great Kobe Bryant, and for the 2 NBA championships, they won together at the Los Angeles Lakers. The 38-year old veteran is now playing with the Milwaukee Bucks, who are one of the favorites to win the NBA finals this year! Could this be Pau Gasol’s 3rdNBA title before he retires?
3. Brook Lopez
Speaking of the NBA playoffs, Pau Gasol’s current teammate, and twin brother of Robin Lopez, Brook Lopez, has taken the world by storm this past year. After playing most of his career at the Brooklyn Nets, he was always seen as an outstanding center. But just this season, when he joined the championship contending Milwaukee Bucks, the world truly began to see his power. He is one of the only 7-ft tall players in NBA history to shoot the ball as accurately from 3-point range this season, and he has averaged nearly 30 points per game this year. He continues to amaze, as the Bucks are now in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, and are one of the favorites for this year’s NBA championship. We wish Brook good luck!
2. Carmelo Anthony
Most people don’t even know that Carmelo Anthony, veteran star forward is partly Puerto Rican! But he is without a doubt one of the best players the game of basketball has ever seen. He has also been named an NBA-All star 10 times and an All-NBA Team player 6 times. He also holds a record for his 4 Olympic appearances with the United States Basketball Team. Although he has never won an NBA championship, he has become one of the greatest players in New York Knicks franchise history, with his flashy playstyle and his overbearing confidence. He is nearing the end of his career, but he still played for the Houston Rockets this past season and hopes to return again next year!
1. Manu Ginobli
For the #1 spot, we chose none other than Argentina’s very own Manu Ginobli. He is not only a four-time NBA champion, but he is also regarded as one of the best international players of all time. His awesome NBA career began 17 years ago he was just a “young rookie”, but soon he showed the world his skill as a point guard. He perfected the Euro-Step Layup move, a move typically used overseas. But when he brought it to the United States, people fell in love with the quick but effective move, and Manu Ginobli started an almost viral trend in the NBA, as almost any player of any position will practice and perform the move. When he retired in 2018, it was a sad day for NBA fans everywhere, especially San Antonio Spurs fans. He will be known as one of the best Spurs players of all time, and although we may not see Manu on the court, his legacy lives through his signature Euro-Step, which has become a staple in today’s game.
Let us know which of these 10 Latino NBA players is your favorite! Do you think there will be more Latino NBA players in the future? Who do you think is going to win the NBA championship this year? Let us know in the comments down below, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and subscribe to the LETNetworks newsletter!