Sports in Puerto Rico

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This site was created for American Culture 213: Introduction to Latino Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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Carlos Arroyo and the National Team

Biography and Impact

Carlos Arroyo was born in Fajardo, Puerto Rico in 1979. A young star of the NBA, he is known for his quickness, leadership, and clutch play. At the time of his debut in the NBA, he was only the fifth player to from Puerto Rico to play at the highest level of basketball in America . He is currently the captain of the Puerto Rican national team and carried the flag for his country at the opening ceremonies of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. He is currently one of three Puerto Rican Players in the NBA. He began his career with the Toronto Raptors in 2001 and was traded to the Denver Nuggets midway through the year. He now plays for the Utah Jazz and became only the fourth point guard to start for them in the last twenty years.

Arroyo is an up and coming player in the NBA. He has improved significantly every year since he came into the league. As a rising star, he gives exceeding hope to the young basketball players in Puerto Rico, where they follow the NBA and Arroyo's success.

The National Team

Carlos Arroyo is best known as the captain of the Puerto Rican National Team. They have in the past been overlooked as undersized and under skilled but in the past Olympics they shocked the world by upsetting Team USA in the first round of the tournament. This was the first time the Unites States had ever lost an Olympic basketball game since using professional players.

Here is a clipping from the Washington Post following the historic game (7):

U.S. Men Slammed by Puerto Rico

Loss Is the First Since NBA Athletes Began Playing in Olympics

By Barry Svrluga Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 16, 2004; Page A01

ATHENS, Aug. 15 -- The U.S. men's basketball team, which had not lost an Olympic game since it began using professional players 12 years ago -- and only twice in the Games since 1936 -- was soundly beaten Sunday night at Helliniko Indoor Arena by Puerto Rico, a historic outcome that signaled the end of America's unchallenged dominance in a sport that was invented and perfected in the United States.

This game was not only historic for the US, but it brought a resurgence of national pride to Puerto Rico following the game. Having always lived in the shadow of the mighty US, especially in the realm of basketball, it was a monumental accomplishment to dethrone the reigning champions. Puerto Rico as a nation celebrated that victory and its national team became instant celebrities. This David and Goliath type game brought the country together around the sport of basketball in a country where boxing and baseball have traditionally been the most popular. After the victory, the players used the opportunity in the spotlight to address their country as most Puerto Rican players do, and bring more attention and national pride to the small island. The game is especially significant as it brings confidence in the political arena for Puerto Rico.

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