Are There Any Mexicans In The NBA?

A recent study found that there are no Mexican players in the NBA. This is surprising, given that Mexico is one of the top basketball-producing countries in the world.

NBA History

When the National Basketball Association was founded in 1946, it was a mostly white league. African American players were not allowed to play in the NBA until 1950, and it would be several more years before racial diversity became commonplace in the league. Hispanics, meanwhile, have been playing in the NBA since the league’s inception.

The first Mexican player in the NBA

The first Mexican player in the NBA was Jorge Gutierrez, who was drafted by the Brooklyn Nets in 2013. He played college basketball at the University of California, Berkeley, and was a two-time All- Pac-12 defensive team selection. Gutierrez is one of only a handful of Mexicans to have played in the NBA.

The current state of Mexicans in the NBA

There are currently no Mexicans playing in the NBA. This is due in large part to the fact that basketball is not as popular in Mexico as it is in other countries. However, there are a few Mexican-born players who have gone on to have successful careers in the NBA.

The number of Mexicans currently in the NBA

As of the 2019-2020 season, there is only one Mexican-born player in the NBA, Gustavo Ayon. Ayon was born in Mexico City and played college basketball at Union College in Kentucky before being drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 2005. He has also played for the New Orleans Hornets, Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic, and Charlotte Hornets.

Ayon is not the only player of Mexican descent in the NBA, however. There are several players who were born in the United States to Mexican parents, or who have dual citizenship. These players include Jamal Crawford, Monta Ellis, Tyson Chandler, Ricky Rubio, Rudy Gay, and Pau Gasol. While there are fewer Mexicans in the NBA than in years past, Spanish-speaking players from all over Latin America have become more prevalent in recent years.

The type of Mexicans in the NBA

It is a common misconception that Mexicans cannot play basketball. In fact, there are several Mexicans who have made it to the NBA. The most notable is Horacio Llamas, who played for the Phoenix Suns from 1996 to 2000.

Other Mexicans who have played in the NBA include Eduardo Najera, who played for the Houston Rockets, and Jorge Garbajosa, who played for the Toronto Raptors.

Mexicans have also had success as coaches in the NBA. current head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, Steve Nash, is Canadian-born but of Mexican descent.

The number of Mexicans in the NBA may be small, but they have definitely made their mark on the league.

The future of Mexicans in the NBA

As the popularity of basketball in Mexico continues to grow, many are wondering if there will be any Mexicans in the NBA in the near future. While there are currently no Mexicans in the NBA, there are a few players of Mexican descent who are making a name for themselves in the league. Let’s take a look at some of these players and what their future in the NBA might hold.

The potential for Mexicans in the NBA

Though there are presently no Mexicans in the NBA, the potential for more Mexican players in the league is high. In recent years, a number of Mexican players have entered the NBA Draft, and while none have been drafted in the first round, a few have been taken in the second round. Additionally, a number of Mexican players have gone on to play in the NBA Development League or other professional leagues outside of the United States.

One player who could be a potential first-rounder in future NBA drafts is 7’2″ center Gustavo Ayon. Ayon was born in Mexico City and played college basketball at UConn before being drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 2011. He has since played for the Hawks, New Orleans Pelicans, Orlando Magic, and Milwaukee Bucks. Another player with first-round potential is 7’0″ center mandate diego Guevara, who was born in Tijuana and played college basketball at UC Irvine. Guevara has not yet been drafted by an NBA team but has played professionally in Mexico and Puerto Rico.

A number of other Mexican players have shown promise but are not yet draft eligible or ready for the NBA level; these include 19-year-old small forward Isaac Hernandez (6’7″, who plays for the Texas Legends of the G League), 21-year-old Shooting guard Carlos Jimenez (6’5″, who plays for Fuenlabrada Baloncesto of Spain’s Liga ACB), and 21-year-old point guard Mauricio Salgado (6’2″, who plays for UCAM Murcia Baloncesto of Spain’s Liga ACB). Each of these players has shown significant promise and could eventually make their way to the NBA.

The likelihood of more Mexicans in the NBA

Today, Mexicans make up about 1.4% of the US population, but only a handful have made it to the NBA. According to a 2017 report from SB Nation, there have only been 11 Mexicans who have ever played in the NBA, including Horacio Llamas, who was the first and only Mexican-born player to be drafted into the league.

However, with the recent success of players like Rudy Gobert and Nikola Jokic, that may be starting to change. There are now several Mexican-born players in the NBA, including rookie phenom Luka Doncic. And while there is still a long way to go before we see an influx of Mexican players in the league, it is certainly possible that we could see more Mexicans drafted into the NBA in the coming years.

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