Nicknames like "El Macho" for Kobe Bryant and "El Dragón" for Pau Gasol are already popular in thousands of homes in Southern California thanks to Adrián García Márquez and Francisco Pinto, the voices of the Spanish-language television coverage of the Los Angeles Lakers.
"The aim was for Hispanic fans in all parts of the Laker Nation to be able to enjoy basketball in their language," San Diego native García Márquez told Efe.
From somewhere inside his head other nicknames emerged like "El Monstruo" (The Monster) for Dwight Howard, "El Mago" (The Magician) for Steve Nash and "El Asesino" (The Assassin) for Earl Clark.
"When you travel an unexplored road there's an enormous feeling of satisfaction and personal pride, but also a great responsibility. I hope that other franchises follow us because the Latino presence in many markets is enormous," said the Chilean-born Pinto.
The fans can find the pair on Time Warner Cable Deportes, the first regional sports station in Spanish in U.S. history and the first to offer complete coverage in Spanish of an NBA franchise.
García Márquez and Pinto bleed purple and gold. They travel with the team on their road games all over the country, enjoy the victories and suffer the defeats like the others team members. They're not just employees of the franchise, they're part of the family.
"It's something I never imagined," admitted García. "I grew up listening to Chick Hearn, the great voice of the Lakers for many years and the most recognized in the sports world. I experienced as a fan the 'Showtime' epoch and the years of Kobe Bryant with Shaquille O'Neal. Now, I travel in the plane with Kobe," he said between laughs.
"It's something special," said Pinto. "The Lakers, despite being one of the most recognized sports brands in the world, operate like a family business. You come into it and they make you feel like an important part of it, they protect you, they guide you and they help you," he said.