NBA Playoffs: Here’s the Latino, Spanish Players to Watch

*Why you should read this: Because Latino players are making their mark in the NBA. Because many Latino NBA fans root for Latinos, even if they’re not on their favorite team. Because as a point of personal privilege, go Spurs! VL


By Gabe Salgado, NBC News (4.5 minute read)  

It’s spring: time for winter sports to enter the playoff portions of their schedules. If you’re a basketball fan, you’re probably thrilled that the National Basketball Association’s 2017 playoff schedule began this past weekend. There have been plenty of memorable games so far, but amid the many highlight reel plays gracing our screens, we want to flag the Latino and Spanish players making their presence felt during the march to the June NBA Finals:

BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 26: Al Horford #42 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the second quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden on October 26, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

Boston Celtics center Al Horford

As the Celtics make only their third playoff appearance under current head coach Brad Stevens, Al Horford is playing a major role. The 30-year-old Dominican contributed 14 points and six rebounds per game for the No. 1 seeded Celtics. They were able to hold off the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors to claim the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics will lean heavily on the 6-foot-10 inch Horford as they hope to win their first NBA Championship since 2008.

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 31: Robin Lopez #8 of the Chicago Bulls look on against the Brooklyn Nets during the first half at Barclays Center on October 31, 2016 in New York City. Michael Reaves / Getty Images

Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez

Standing in Horford’s way in the first round is Chicago’s own Latino tower of power. Cuban-American Robin Lopez stands 7 feet tall and will give Horford competition in the post. During the Bulls’ final four regular season games, Lopez scored a combined 52 points and converted 22 of 42 combined field goals to help the Bulls gain the eighth and final seed in the East. This matchup will be an interesting one.

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