By NAN Sports Editor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 9, 2017: From Patrick Ewing to Tim Duncan to Trinidad & Tobago’s Ken Charles; these Caribbean immigrant former NBA players have made an indelible contribution to the sport of basketball at a national and international level for the US. Here are the current crop who are continuing the tradition today in the NBA:
Chavano Rainier “Buddy” Hield
Chavano Rainier “Buddy” Hield, 23, currently plays for the Sacramento Kings. He was born in the Bahamas and grew up in Eight Mile Rock, a coastal village 14 miles west of Freeport, in the West Grand Bahama district in The Bahamas. He was fifth of seven children of his mother Jackie Braynen and received his nickname from his mother after Bud Bundy of the sitcom Married… with Children. He was named the Big 12 Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016 and has so far received four major national player of the year awards including the John R. Wooden Award, the Naismith Award, Sporting News Player of the Year, and the Oscar Robertson Trophy. Hield was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft by the New Orleans Pelicans and on February 20, 2017, was traded alongside Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and 2017 first round and second round draft picks to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi. On April 11, 2017, he set a new career high with 30 points in a 129–104 win over the Phoenix Suns.
Alfred Joel “Al” Horford Reynoso, 31, currently plays for the Boston Celtics. Horford was born in the city of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic and was drafted with the third overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks, a team he played nine seasons with before joining the Celtics in 2016. On March 19, 2017, he scored a season-high 27 points in a 105–99 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Skal Labissière, 21, currently plays for the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Labissière was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. His basketball career began at the Collège Canado-Haïtien, a junior-senior high school in Port-au-Prince, which participated in school championships organized by the Comité Interscolaire de Basket-ball Amateur (CIBA), and the Association de Basket-ball Interscolaire (ASI). During the 2010 Haiti earthquake, his family’s home collapsed with Labissière, his mother and his brother inside. All three survived, but were trapped under the debris for three hours. Labissière’s legs were trapped, causing them to go numb and he was unable to walk for a few weeks after. A few months after the earthquake, Labissière moved to the United States in Memphis, Tennessee, to live with Gerald Hamilton, who ran the Reach Your Dream Foundation, which brought international prospects to the United States.
José Juan “J. J.” Barea Mora
José Juan “J. J.” Barea Mora, 32, currently plays for the Dallas Mavericks. He born in the Puerto Rican municipality of Mayagüez and played college basketball for Northeastern University before joining the Mavericks in 2006 and becoming just the seventh Puerto Rican to play in the NBA. He went on to win an NBA championship with the Mavericks in 2011 before signing with the Minnesota Timberwolves where he played for the next three seasons. He has also played in the NBA Development League and the Baloncesto Superior Nacional and was one of the members of the Puerto Rico men’s national basketball team that participated in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.