Undercover latinos are all over the good ol’ USA. There isn’t a boardroom, political party, golf club, classroom, or group Zoom call where participants don’t wonder “Is he/she or isn’t he/she?”. The same if also true in the world of celebrity which includes famous personalities from professional sports. Just because someone’s last name doesn’t end in an “ez” doesn’t mean their devoid of proud latino flavor.
To educate the masses, JefeBet has stepped up with a look at five athlete celebrities who can celebrate their Mexican or Latin American roots.
5 Famous Athletes in the USA Most People Don’t Know Come from a Mexican or Latin American Background
Carmelo Anthony | NBA All-Star (Afro Puerto Rican)
Power/small forward Carmelo Anthony is destined to go down in history as another NBA journeyman. Despite his appearance in 10 NBA All-Star games, collection of Olympic medals, and being ranked (at press) 9th on the NBA All Time Scoring Leaders list he has yet to win an NBA Championship.
Given the state of the LA Lakers which he currently plays for (contract pending?) a ring doesn’t seem to be in his future. But he does have something to be very proud of – his Puerto Rican heritage! We’re surprised to find that few people know of his background, as to this day the NBA star stays connected by visiting the territory for charitable work and youth mentorship programs. That makes him more of a champ than a Larry O’Brien trophy. Still, a ring would be nice.
Reggie Jackson | MLB Hall of Famer (Afro Puerto Rican)
One of the greatest to ever swing a bat and catch in the right field, Reggie Jackson, is a proud Afro-Puerto-Rican. The Hall of Famer (inducted in 1993) played 21 MLB seasons, gracing stadiums in Kansas City, Oakland, Baltimore, New York, and California. Having accumulated 2,584 hits, 563 HRs, 1,702 RBI, and 1,551 Rs, Jackson is a point of pride for the PR.
Ryan Lochte | Olympic Gold Medalist (Cuban-American)
Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer Ryan Lochte may be a douche, but he’s our douche. Take it or leave it. After being busted for lying about being robbed by a “gang of Brazilians” at a Rio gas station during the 2016 Summer Olympic games Lochte was under fire for exercising his White Privilege. At that point, his Cuban heritage (mother’s side) came to light as “handlers” pointed to the fact as his defense. It didn’t work:
“Ryan Lochte doesn’t get a pass on white privilege because he’s Latino, though. No question about it, blue-haired dude-bro has white privilege in spades. You probably didn’t even know he’s Cuban-American, since it’s not apparent in his appearance or his skin color or his name. Even if he is technically Latino, he appears to be white and so the world treats him as such”.
Leah Donnella, NPR.
Yeah, maybe we’ll kick him out of the club.
Stacy Peralta | Dogtown & Z-Boys Legend (Mexican-American)
Most people know that skateboarding icon Tony Alva is latino, but hardly anyone knows that fellow Dogtown & Z-Boys alumni Stacy Peralta is too. It doesn’t help that the blue-eyed blonde-locked John Robinson played Peralta in Lords of Dogtwon. Together with Alva, the Mexican-American helped pave the way for professional latino skateboarders in the USA and around the world.
Ted Willams | MLB Hall of Famer (Mexican-American)
This is the biggest shocker of them all. Ted Williams played his entire two-decade Major League Baseball baseball career for the Boston Red Sox from 1939 to 1960. Williams finished his career with a . 344 batting average, 521 home runs, 2,021 walks and 1,839 RBI. Williams was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1966.
But one statistic that he had to keep under wraps given the social climate at the time was the fact that his mother was of Mexican heritage. Once he retired he opened up about this true roots. This is one anecdote to share when discussing the latino influence in sports around the water cooler!
Stay tuned for more from the JefeBet Locker Room.
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