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Al Horford

Al Horford ready for second trip to NBA Finals

Al Horford chases more Dominican Republic history

The first NBA Finals Media Day Al Horford attended in 2022 was overwhelming after a lengthy, stellar career. Now, the Boston Celtics’ five-time All-Star is embracing the experience on and off the court.

The 17-year veteran stayed consistent during his long break off between the Eastern Conference Finals and NBA Finals. Horford constantly worked out and participated in team activities in preparation for Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

“Really excited,” Horford said. “Just excited to be in this position. From the beginning of camp this is all we’ve been talking about being in this position again, and just grateful right now. 

“I’m just trying to take this experience of the media day per se. So it’s just a fun time for me.”

The Celtics and Dallas Mavericks wrapped up their practice Wednesday afternoon at the TD Garden. The Mavericks and Celtics will clash for the first time since March 1. Boston won that game 138-110 with Jayson Tatum leading the way with 32 points.

Al Horford part of rice Celtics history

The Celtics are one of the most historical franchises in the NBA. From Bill Russell and Bob Cousy in the 1950s to Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish as “the Big Three” in the 1980s, some of the all-time greats sported the green and white.

Horford, Tatum and their teammates know what a privilege it is to wear “Celtics” across their chest.

“We only hang championship banners, right,” Tatum said. “17 of them. Some of the greatest players ever to play this game wore this uniform. You know all of us are honored to follow in their footsteps, and the way that they paved for us to live out our dreams.

“Essentially yeah. If you want to be one of the greats to put on this uniform, every great before you won a championship. That’s what we try to play for every single season.”


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Latinos have made a difference through the years of the NBA Playoffs. Alfred “Butch” Lee Jr. was a pioneer for Latinos in the NBA. The Puerto Rican point guard was the first Latino to play in the NBA with the 1978 Atlanta Hawks.

Three years later, Mexican American Mark Aguirre was the first overall pick in the 1981 NBA Draft by the Mavericks. Butch won the 1980 NBA Finals with the Lakers. Aguirre, a three-time All-Star, won two NBA Finals win the Detroit Pistons in 1989 and 1990.

Following father’s footsteps

Tito Horford, Al’s father, became the first Dominican to play in the NBA with the 1988 Milwaukee Bucks.

There were only 10 Latinos who made their team’s 15-man roster this season. The most notable among the Latinos in the NBA this year were Horford, Devin Booker, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jaime Jaquez Jr.

Another young Latino player who is still fairly new in the league is small forward Chris Duarte of the Sacramento Kings. Duarte was born in Horford’s hometown of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. The Oregon alum. was drafted 13th overall by the Indiana Pacers in the 2021 NBA Draft. Duarte became the 11th Dominican to play in the NBA.

Watching the younger Latino population grow in the NBA gives Horford hope, especially seeing basketball players like Duarte come from the D.R.

“Yeah, it’s a special thing,” Horford said of Latino players following in his footsteps. “It gives me you know a lot of pride when I see these guys able to figure it out because it’s not easy to get to this level. 

“With Chris (Duarte) I’ve been able to be in touch with him over the years. It’s a really good thing. It shows you know how much progress Dominican basketball has made, and there’s always been talent. I feel like it’s always been hard for guys to be able to break through. Now there’s more opportunities, and it’s pretty cool to see those guys come up.”

Al Horford, 38, is already considered a trailblazer in the NBA. Now the Dominican star seeks to become the first Dominican to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy.

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