Dominican Republic is the nation on the island of Hispaniola which is a part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Carribean region.
The capital city is Santo Domingo and their official language is Spanish. Most of their ethnic groups are mixed which consists of the 73% of their population, 16% of the white and 11% black.
Baseball is the most popular sport in Dominican Republic but the popularity of basketball has been growing rapidly. In the streets of Santo Domingo, you will see a lot of basketball courts consisting of boys playing and shooting basketball.
In Dominican Republic, it has a different breed of basketball athletes. These players from Dominican Republic just play for the love of the game, and it doesn’t matter whoever is watching, even if there are scouts around them.
The drafting of Al Horford in the NBA has been a big factor of the popularity of the sport in the country and dominican basketball has entered a new generation or era. But Horford is not the first Dominican to play in the NBA.
The first dominican to play in NBA was Hugo Cabrera. Cabrera started his college basketball career at East Texas State University. He was representing the Dominican National basketbal team on 1976 in San Lazaro, Puerto Rico.
The Milwaukee Bucks general manager Wayne Embry witnessed Cabreras fascinating performance that convinced him to select Cabrera as the 8th pick of the 10th round in the 1976 NBA draft. He did not play significantly and has no impact for the team in summer and returned to play in San Lazaro.
The next Dominican to play in the NBA is Frank Rodriguez who was selected in the 10th round of the 1984 NBA draft. His career is not that significant and his standing did not provide much inspiration for other aspiring dominican athletes.
The third dominican to play in the NBA is Al Horford’s father Tito Horford. He was selected as the 39th overall pick of the 1988 NBA draft and he was the first dominican to actually play a game in the NBA.
Another is Jose “El Grillo” Vargas who started his college career at Louisiana State University or LSU and eventually selected by the Dallas Mavericks as the 49th overall pick of the 1988 draft.