Posted Mar 3 2009 11:37AM
NEW YORK -- On February 24, the NBA announced the launch of its third annual Noche Latina event, a program that recognizes the NBA's fans and players from across Latin America and U.S. Hispanic communities. Noche Latina will take place in eight of the top 10 U.S. Hispanic markets this season (up from four in 2007-08): Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, San Antonio, Dallas, Chicago, Houston and New York.
"The NBA has one of the largest and fastest-growing Hispanic fan bases in U.S. professional sports, and we want to continue building their interest in the game through participation, programming and events," said Saskia Sorrosa, Sr. Director of Marketing for the NBA. "This initiative celebrates the NBA's unique and dynamic fan base with a focus on our Spanish-speaking communities."
Noche Latina, first launched during the 2006-07 season, will feature celebratory uniforms developed in conjunction with La Agencia de Orci & Asociados, a U.S. Hispanic agency, to display the team name as spoken by the Latino population. Rather than translating the team names literally, market research concluded that Spanish-speakers in the U.S. refer to them differently. The Miami Heat, for example, is called "El Heat"; the San Antonio Spurs are "Los Spurs." Noche Latina uniforms were carefully selected based on the uniforms that had the most affinity within the Hispanic population.
Starting February 21, the NBA will hold local events in each participating city leading up to Noche Latina, including visits by streetball teams to Hispanic events and neighborhoods where they will perform basketball tricks and distribute branded giveaways. To further honor Latino fans and players during Noche Latina games, participating Noche Latina NBA teams will host in-arena themed activities ranging from Latin music to performances and giveaways. Noche Latina jerseys, t-shirts, and headwear will be available at the NBA Store on 5th Avenue, NBAStore.com, and in-arena stores for participating teams
Noche Latina 2009 tips off on Tuesday, March 3, when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Memphis Grizzlies. On Wednesday, March 4, the Noche Latina doubleheader opens with the San Antonio Spurs heading to Dallas, where both teams will wear Noche Latina uniforms, followed by the New York Knicks visiting the Atlanta Hawks.
Noche Latina continues with two Miami Heat home games, the first against the Chicago Bulls on Monday, March 9, and the second against the Utah Jazz on Saturday, March 14. On the same Saturday, the Phoenix Suns will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder at home. The Spurs face the NBA champion Boston Celtics on Friday, March 20, followed by Noche Latina games on back-to-back nights, Wednesday, March 25, with the Mavericks vs. the Golden State Warriors and Thursday, March 26, with the Bulls vs. the Heat. The program concludes on Saturday, March 28, when the Houston Rockets host the Los Angeles Lakers.
|NOCHE LATINA SCHEDULE|
|Bayless Late Foul|
Jerryd Bayless commits a costly foul on Kelly Olynyk late in the game.
|Play of the Day: Gordon Hayward|
Gordon Hayward nails the step back jumper to beat the buzzer and win the game in overtime versus the Dallas Mavericks.
|Assist of the Night: Zaza Pachulia|
Zaza Pachulia ends up the with official assist but the entire Mavericks team gets in on the action before Deron Williams finishes with the layup.
|Dunk of the Night: Kristaps Porzingis|
Kristaps Porzingis puts his defender in the spin cycle before soaring to the basket for the slam.
|Jazz vs. Mavericks|
Gordon Hayward hit the winning jumper at the buzzer in overtime after Rodney Hood's tying 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation, and the Jazz extend their season-best winning streak to seven games with a 121-119 victory over the Mavericks.