I am not a person that believes to live in America you need to speak English. I do think if you want to make life in America easier, learning English is beneficial. We do not have a national language, against popular belief, but freedom of speech actually includes freedom to speak the language of your choosing. That has nothing to do with people that are not here legally, but that is enough of the political type thoughts from me, but background leading into this Smear does help lend some perspective.
Tonight, I found myself watching a Laker game and re-examining my water to see if I had just downed a liter of vodka instead. I looked at the sign in front of the scorer’s table, and I saw a website and had a flashback to my freshman year Spanish class alphabet chart. I saw a sign that said enebea.com. I was sure I was hit in the head and was for some reason seeing the nba.com URL spelled out in the Spanish alphabet pronunciation form. So I grabbed my computer, entered this delusion of an URL into it, and what did I find? A Spanish language version of nba.com. I was shocked. So, naturally, I looked up the English version of the pronunciation form of nba.com…enbeeay.com apparently doesn’t exist. Strange.
Now, this new site has just confirmed my suspicion that the NBA has no clue how to market to the non-Asian or European markets. It is amazing, the third-world Spanish speaking countries tend to have two popular sports, soccer and baseball, yet in America, baseball is not popular because it costs too much money to play. That is the reason basketball is so popular in the inner-cities, right? I am a baseball nut, and I concede that point, but why then are poor Spanish speaking countries so good at baseball and so indifferent to basketball?
Simple, ignorance by the wealthy American hypocrisy that runs the NBA. The NBA and MLB are guilty of it, but when it happens on a baseball diamond, you can almost sense the embarrassment the few times “Los” has been included on uniforms. It almost seems like a footnote in the games it has appeared in. Then you turn to the NBA and “Los” is not only featured, but is constantly referred to as Latino appreciation. Really?!?! Three letters mean you appreciate a cultural background? So, when a uniform says “Los Suns” rather than “Los Sols”, what does that mean? The “article” of the team name can be in the Spanish language, but the name, the word that truly represents the team isn’t worthy of being properly translated?
Seriously, if you are going to try and highlight the different cultures that follow your sport, there are two ways to do it, keep it in the language and names it was designed, or truly commit to honoring the other cultures that follow basketball. Completely translate the team name in the language you are representing that night. Go all out German night, Italian night, Spanish night, Greek night, Russian night, etc. Do yourselves a favor, just commit or don’t, and for the first time in my life, I will suggest you take a page from ESPN, use Deportes, and respect the language you are targeting, don’t hold yourselves in higher regard than your customers, it is just plain embarrassing to me, as a sports fan.