Whether you call it baloncesto, básquetbol, or basketball, March is usually a pretty crazy month for the sport treated liked a religion in my home state of Indiana. In particular, the NCAA’s annual men’s championship tournament usually draws the attention of the majority of Americans during this time of year. And on the professional side, the NBA tries to spread passion for the game into the Latino and Hispanic market every March with Noche Latina, a celebration of Latin heritage held throughout the month at various NBA arenas.
Now the NBA’s efforts should come as no surprise. Almost every major sports league in the United States is tripping over themselves to draw in Hispanic and Latino fans. But considering the NBA’s almost fourfold increase in the number of Spanish, Hispanic, and Latino players in the league over the last couple of years—from 5 to almost 20—perhaps they are on to something. The Dallas Mavericks, for instance, have the first NBA player ever drafted from Mexico on their roster, Eduardo Nájera. And there are currently five Argentinians playing on various NBA teams. So one should expect that the total number of players from the Spanish-speaking world will continue to go up. In this month’s NCAA men’s tournament, for instance, the #4 seed in the Midwest Region, the University of Maryland Terrapins, are led by Greivis Vasquez, an important NBA prospect from Caracas, Venezuela. Hmm….I wonder who Hugo Chávez‘ favorite player in the NCAA is right now?
el tablero : backboard :: la canasta : basket
la red : net :: el aro : hoop
la cancha : court :: la línea de banda : sideline
la línea de tiro libre : free-throw line
la línea de tres puntos : three-point line
el balón : ball :: el jugador de baloncesto : basketball player
lanzar : to throw :: tirar : to shoot
saltar : to jump :: marcar : to cover
botar : to dribble :: bloquear : to block