SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — From Oakland, California to Mexicali, Mexico, Juan Toscano-Anderson continues to make the Latino community proud as the only Mexican-American player currently in the NBA, according to the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors’ small forward was born and raised in East Oakland and attended Castro Valley High School where he shined on the court.
After playing collegiate ball at Marquette University, he went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Toscano-Anderson then joined Soles de Mexicali, a Mexican professional basketball team based in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, playing in the Northern Division of the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional.
Playing in Mexico brought Toscano-Anderson closer to his roots and more in touch with his culture, according to Warriors.com.
Even after leaving Mexico and returning to Northern California, Mexicans and Mexican-Americans continue to show a tremendous amount of support for the 27-year-old.
In 2018, Toscano-Anderson joined the Santa Cruz Warriors in the NBA G League, the Golden State Warriors’ affiliate.
But even though he had a different jersey on and new teammates, Toscano-Anderson never stopped showing love for his heritage.
Fast-forward to present day, the East Oakland product is a Golden State Warrior, making him the only Mexican-American player in the league, per the Warriors.
Even in the big league, he hasn’t forgotten where he came from.
“I get a lot of support and a lot of love from people in Mexico and Mexican people here, so I just carry that and I honor it,” Toscano-Anderson said in a postgame interview following his NBA debut.
As just the fifth Mexican player in the NBA – behind former players Eduardo Nájera, Horacio Llamas, Jorge Gutiérrez and Gustavo Ayón – Toscano-Anderson recognizes and acknowledges his unique situation.
“Being in a league where we’re not represented at all is an honor,” he said.
Toscano-Anderson’s journey goes to show how important representation is, no matter how big. It pushes little Mexican boys and girls to pursue their dreams despite the odds. Most importantly — it reminds people to never forget their roots.
Even though Hispanic Heritage Month is 30 days of celebrating Latinx and Hispanic culture and pride, it’s people like Toscano-Anderson that remind the community to celebrate it every day.