Fluency in Spanish make JJ Barea, Kristaps Porzingis, Luka Doncic a hit with Mexicans
The Dallas Mavericks are set to face off against the Detroit Pistons on Thursday in Mexico City as part of the NBA’s efforts to expand its reach beyond the borders of the United States. As it turns out, the Mavs trio of JJ Barea, Kristaps Porzingis, and Luka Doncic have been getting some extra attention form the adoring home fans, and this is primarily because of their ability to communicate with the local supporters in their native tongue.
“People were really cheering for the Mavs,” said NBA Mexico vice president and managing director Raul Zarraga, via Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. “I’m sure the same thing will happen Thursday, especially with the current level of play the Mavs are having — and of course Barea, Porzingis and Luka Doncic.”
Ironically, neither of these three guys hail from Mexico. Barea is from Puerto Rico, Porzingis was born in Latvia, while Doncic is of Slovenian descent. Nevertheless, their ability to speak fluently in Spanish has definitely proven to be a hit for the Mexican fans.
For his part, Porzingis shared how he came about learning Spanish as a second dialect, and how it has impacted his career thus far.
“Definitely on social media, I get a lot of messages in Spanish,” said Porzingis, who learned to speak Spanish in “six or seven months” after moving to Spain at age 15 to play professionally. “A lot of times people find out that I speak Spanish because I listen to Spanish music, Latin rap or whatever.”
Thursday night’s matchup will be a regular season contest between these two teams, and based on the above report, it appears that it will be the Mavs who will be feeling more at home in the Mexico City Arena.