Every March, the team names on certain NBA jerseys change to an interesting hybrid of English and Spanish as part of the NBA’s series of Noche Latina Latin Night events. And while I’m 100% behind this (and every) celebration of cultural diversity, the implementation has never really made much sense to me.
For example, Chicago’s Noches Latinas jerseys say “LOS BULLS.” In Spanish, the article ‘the’ becomes los before a plural noun. I understand that the Bulls are referred to as Los Bulls in Spanish. However, Chicago’s jerseys say “BULLS”—not “THE BULLS”. I think instead of just tacking on los, it might make more sense to use the Spanish word for ‘bulls’: toros—or if they’re really attached to using the article, Los Toros:
Translating ‘New York’ to Nueva York is better. For the Lakers, why not just use ‘Los Angeles’ since it’s already Spanish? It would still be special because the team only uses ‘Lakers’ on their jerseys. We could also translate ‘Heat’ to Calor and ‘Magic’ to Magia:
I think it’s only a matter of time before the NBA looks capitalize on its large Chinese fanbase. Perhaps each year during the Chinese New Year a few teams could replace their English names with Chinese characters. Here’s what Chinese New Year jerseys for the Bulls, Knicks and Rockets might look like: