No, your eyes do not deceive you, charro ...
Kicking off the The Association's third annual Noche Latina event — a program that recognizes the NBA's fans and players from across Latin America and U.S. Hispanic communities — "Los Kobe" and his Lakers wore celebratory jerseys in their front-running 99-89 win over the Grizzlies on Tuesday.
Announced back in February, Noche Latina frenzy is set to take place in eight of the top 10 American Hispanic markets this season (up from four in 2007-08): Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, San Antonio, Dallas, Chicago, Houston and New York.
While "Los" uniforms are all the rage, Noche Latina NBA teams will also host in-arena themed activities ranging from Latin music to performances and giveaways to I'm not even going to go there ...
But here's a fun twist: Rather than translating the team names literally ("Los Sols," "Los Espuelas," what have you), market research has apparently concluded that Spanish-speakers in the U.S. refer to them a little differently. The Miami Heat, for example, is called "El Heat"; the San Antonio Spurs are "Los Spurs." I'll have to take their word for it.
Anyway, if you like what you see, Latin nights jerseys, t-shirts, and headwear (excluding Mbenga's awesome floating wide-brimmed hat, sorry) are available at the NBAStore.com.
Here's a quick look at the other Latina-flavored threads:
"¡Arriba! ¡Arriba! ¡Buy! ¡Buy! ¡Buy!"