Al Horford, Boston Celtics
Al Horford scored 26 points in his NBA Finals debut in 2022; he is one of seven Latinos with an NBA Finals appearance since 2000 Via

SEATTLE - The Boston Celtics sealed their place in this year's NBA Finals with authority, sweeping the Indiana Pacers in four games to reach their second NBA Finals appearance in the last three seasons.

Al Horford, the veteran center from the Dominican Republic, has played a big role for Joe Mazzulla during the playoffs and he will be rewarded with his second appearance in a championship series. Horford has had a few iconic displays en-route to the NBA Finals this year, including a 20-15-5 game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Easter Conference Semifinals.

But throughout history, Latinos have left a mark in basketball when the lights shine the brightest. In the 21st Century, a total of seven players of Latin American descent have played at least one minute in the NBA Finals, with Manu Ginóbili leading the list with 29 games played in this instance.

Latinos in the NBA Finals - Since 2000

  • Al Horford - 2024, 2022
  • Juan Toscano-Anderson - 2022
  • Anderson Varejao - 2007, 2016
  • Leandro Barbosa - 2015, 2016
  • Manu Ginóbili - 2003, 2005, 2007, 2013, 2014
  • J.J. Barea - 2011
  • Fabricio Oberto - 2007

Out of the seven, Horford is the only one that hasn't been able to win a championship ring. In 2022, the Celtics lost the title to the Golden State Warriors in six games. We take a look at some of the best games by a Latino in the NBA Finals.

Manu Ginóbili - Game 2 vs Detroit Pistons in 2005

The San Antonio Spurs dominated the Detroit Pistons on Game 2 of the 2005 NBA Finals, limiting the then reigning champions to just 76 points on the night. The Argentine had a great game and led the Spurs in scoring with 27 points.

Ginóbili was doing a little bit of everything to give the Spurs a 2-0 lead on the series, scoring 27 points, assisting in seven baskets and even recorded three steals. Ginóbili went almost perfect from deep that nigh, scoring four of his five three-point attempts.

The Argentine was a problem for the Pistons all night and they had trouble stopping Manu, as he went to the free throw line 13 times, scoring 11 of his shots.

Manu Ginóbili vs Detroit Pistons - Game 2 of the 2005 NBA Finals

J.J. Barea - Game 5 vs Miami Heat in 2011

The Puerto Rican earned his fame during the 2011 NBA Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat. During game 5 of the series, Barea had a big contribution of 17 points to propel the Mavs to a 112-103 win over the Heat to put the series 3-2 in favor of Dallas.

Barea was the second best scorer for the Mavericks that night just behind Dirk Nowitzki's 29 points. The Puerto Rican was on fire from deep, going 4-5 from 3-pt range. Out of his 17 points that night, 14 came in the second half.

J.J. Barea's second half against the Miami Heat - Game 5 of the 2011 NBA Finals

Al Horford - Game 1 vs Warriors in 2022

Al Horford's NBA Finals debut did not disappoint as the Dominican finished the game with 26 points, six rebounds and six triples in the Celtics' win other Golden State. Horford was one of five Celtics players with double-digit points in that game, but he led them all with a total of 26 points on 9-12 shooting.

Out of his 12 shots, eight of them were three-point attempts. That night, Horford became the oldest player in NBA history with five or more 3-pt made in a single NBA Finals game, surpassing LeBron James' record (35 years, 364 days).

Al Horford's NBA Finals debut

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