Latin America has been pumping out talented sports players for years, and though we’re not lucky enough here in the States to have had them all represent us in some of our sports (namely soccer), they are still heroes.
So, with the help of all-round sports fan and fellow Latino, Sebastien Garcia of monederosmart.com, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite, influential Latino sports heroes from over the years, who have not only made a difference to American sports, but have encouraged kids, adults and prospective athletes from all around the globe strive to accomplish their sporting dreams.
Messi is the prime example of a kid who is just born with bare talent and has used that talent to break several world records whilst playing soccer for both his national team, Argentina and his club, FC Barcelona. With an incredible 91 goals scored in one calendar year and 50 in a La Liga season, he started playing with Barcelona when he was just 15 and helped them achieve the ‘triple’ during the ’08-09 season. An international hero.
The Red Sox’s most decorated baseball player of the 21st century, David Ortiz, AKA Big Papi, is a Dominican American player who managed to smash an almost 70-year-old Red Sox record for the number of Home Runs in one season (it’s 54 in case you didn’t know). He’s a 9-time All-star as well as a three-time champion of the World Series, a credit to baseball and the country.
Carmelo ‘Melo’ Anthony, is an American Basketball player with Puerto-Rican roots on his father’s side of the family. He was drafted back in 2003 by the Denver Nuggets and was ranked in third position of the most talented players of that years draft. Just three games later became the second-youngest player in the history of the NBA to score a whopping 30 points in one game. He was signed to the Knicks in 2011 and in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics he won two gold medals. Upon leaving the Knicks in 2017, he went on to play for the Houston Rockets but currently does not have an NBA team he plays for, leaving lots of speculation around who will sign him next.
Julio Cesar Chavez
Dubbed one of the best boxers to have ever come out of Mexico, Julio Cesar Chavez had a career that spanned 25 years and remained undefeated for 13 of those years. He won six titles and boxed in three different weight divisions with 87 knockouts under his belt. ESPN even placed him #24 in their list of the best boxers of all time.
A Puerto Rican national and baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates, this 12-time All-Star champ and Gold Glove winner was one of the most influential players of all time before he tragically died in an air accident. He was not only an incredible athlete, but Clemente was also heavily involved in charitable work in Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries donating both baseball goodies and food to those who were in need; a true sporting hero.