Latinos highlighted in NBA All-Star Weekend
These three Latinos are set to highlight the NBA All-Star Weekend.
With the Super Bowl firmly in the rearview mirror and the 2022 MLB season nowhere in sight, the sports world pivots its attention to the NBA All-Star Weekend. For the first time in memory, there will be three Latinos featured prominently in three separate events throughout the weekend.
We begin with Golden State Warriors small forward Juan Toscano-Anderson. Toscano-Anderson’s family originates from Michoacan, Mexico. They immigrated to Oakland back in the 1940s and have remained there ever since.
A Bay Area native, Toscano-Anderson feels lucky to represent his hometown team. He even reps his block by wearing No. 95 for 95th Avenue in East Oakland.
Now, 28-year-old Mexican-American will get to represent The Bay in this year’s AT&T Slam Dunk Contest. To win the competition, he will have to get past an elite group of dunkers, including Jalen Green (Houston Rockets), Obi Toppin (New York Knicks), and Cole Anthony (Orlando Magic).
If victorious, he will be the second Latino ever to win the Slam Dunk Contest. The first was fellow Mexican-American Cedric Ceballos, who beat out Larry Johnson for the 1992 Slam Dunk Contest trophy.
More Latinos highlighted at NBA All-Star Weekend
Though this NBA All-Star Weekend was supposed to feature two Dominicans, injuries have widdled that number to one. Indiana Pacers rookie Chris Duarte, a native of the Dominican Republic, was set to play for Team Payton in the Clorox Rising Stars game. Unfortunately, a toe injury will keep him from participating.
Thankfully, another Dominicano, Karl-Anthony Towns, will participate in his third career All-Star game, his first since the 2018-2019 NBA season. Towns’ late mother was from the Dominican Republic. His father is African American.
Towns, a 26-year-old from Metuchen, N.J., is only the second Dominican to appear in an NBA All-Star game. The other one is Puerto Plata native Al Horford, who made five All-Star appearances.
Towns will also participate in the Mountain Dew 3-Point Contest. If he wins, he will be the first Latino to win the event. Though not typical of a big man, Larry Bird (6-foot-9) and Dirk Nowitzki (7-feet) should give Towns some hope of potentially hoisting the trophy.
Also appearing in this year’s All-Star Game for team Durant is Devin Booker. It will be his third appearance in as many years.
Like Juan Toscano-Anderson (above), Booker is Mexican-American. His maternal grandfather immigrated from Nogales, Mexico, to Michigan, where the family eventually settled.
During this NBA All-Star Weekend, Dominicans and Mexicans will be cheering for Team Durant. They’ll also watch the 3-point contest closely.
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