Warriors' Juan Toscano-Anderson becomes 1st player of Mexican descent to win NBA title

·3-min read

Juan Toscano-Anderson might not have seen the floor during the Golden State Warriors' NBA Finals clincher, but that didn't stop him from making history.

The Oakland native became the first player of Mexican descent to win a championship in NBA history on Thursday by virtue of the Warriors' 103-90 Game 6 win over the Boston Celtics. He played only one minute and 19 seconds total for the Warriors in the series, but he'll get a ring all the same.

In 73 regular season games, Toscano-Anderson averaged 4.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 13.6 minutes for the Warriors.

Toscano-Anderson wasn't around for the Warriors' first three titles. He wasn't even in the NBA the last time Golden State hoisted the Larry O'Brien Trophy in 2018, despite entering the 2015 NBA draft, and that's just the start of one of the league's most inspiring stories.

Juan Toscano-Anderson's path to an NBA championship

The Warriors are full of underdogs, like a slight point guard who couldn't find a major Division I offer or an undersized power forward who went in the draft's second round, but none of them took a more unlikely path to the NBA than Toscano-Anderson.

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Rewind back to 2015, and Toscano-Anderson is finishing up a solid, but by no means spectacular, career at Marquette. He averaged 8.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game as a senior, hardly numbers of even an NBA benchwarmer, and a lack of NBA traits left him not hearing, or even expecting to hear, his name called at the draft.

At that point, most college basketball players with NBA ambitions look for G League opportunities or, failing at that, overseas opportunities. Per the San Francisco Chronicle, Toscano-Anderson had zero offers to do even that. No league wanted him.

Juan Toscano-Anderson is an awesome story. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Juan Toscano-Anderson is an awesome story. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

After two months of living with his mother, Toscano-Anderson got a shot with the Mexican national team and performed well enough to receive an offer from the Soles de Mexicali in Mexico's Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional.

Toscano-Anderson took that opportunity and turned into one of the biggest basketball stars in Mexico, winning MVP honors and two LNBP championships over the course of four years, a star turn that finally got him a shot ... with the G League, where he started playing for Golden State's Santa Cruz Warriors in 2018. One more solid year there, and Toscano-Anderson got his NBA shot as a 26-year-old rookie.

His arrival coincided with the Warriors' nadir after the 2019 NBA Finals, but that gave him enough minutes to convince the team he was worth keeping around. And now, Juan Toscano-Anderson is an NBA champion.

It doesn't get much better than that.

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Photo: BreakingT
Photo: BreakingT
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