This year’s NBA All-Star Weekend, hosted in Salt Lake City, Utah, opened up, Friday February 17th, with Latino talent rising, and making for an abundance of headlines as well as on the highlight reels.
Starting with a nine-time Latino Sports MVP award recipient, and future Cooperstown Hall of Famer, Albert Pujols hoopin’ and competing in the Celebrity All-Star Game.
Pujols, 43, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the fourth player in MLB history to hit 700 or more career home runs, was a natural on the basketball court.
Albert Pujols ya está en la hoja de anotadores del Juego de Celebridades de la NBA ✅. pic.twitter.com/na7lqo4bCo
— ESPN Deportes (@ESPNDeportes) February 18, 2023
Perhaps, he will pick basketball up as a hobby, now that he has a lot of time to relax and enjoy his retirement off the playing diamond.
Singer & songwriter Ozuna, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, also participated, and had a quick one-on-one match against the Atlanta Hawks mascot.
— NBA Latam (@NBALatam) February 17, 2023
In the Jordan Rising Stars event, that includes top-level NBA rookies and second year players, who are voted in by NBA assistant coaches and G-League coaches, New Orleans Pelicans’ José Alvarado stole the show, totaling 18 points (13 in round one, five in the title game), and was named the Rising Stars Most Valuable Player.
The 24-year-old Puerto Rican guard, from Brooklyn, New York, iced the title game with a three-point clincher to cap a 25-20 victory for Team Pau (Coach: Pau Gasol) over Team Joakim, (Coach: Joakim Noah).
JOSE ALVARADO CALLED GAME ‼️
— NBA (@NBA) February 18, 2023
Alvarado mentioned his Latin and New York roots along with much more during his postgame press conference.
“Shoutout to them (the Latino fanbase), man they love so much,” Alvarado said. “I saw the billboards. Thank you and I appreciate them so much. I can’t wait to go back to PR (Puerto Rico), all around and show so much love to them.”
“I’m from New York, you know. I feel like there’s an all-star every time you play in the park, so it was just the atmosphere I enjoyed. I just play José basketball.”
Alvarado also revealed that his mother is Puerto Rican and Mexican. He said, with one of his two daughters by his side on stage, that they are half and half. “We are all over,” Alvarado said, referring to his family with Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage.
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