Al Horford is large.
But the 6-foot-9 center is more than the Celtics big man. He helps refurbish basketball courts and hold clinics in his native Dominican Republic and is an ambassador for WildAid, helping protect wildlife. His care for community and commitment to the game of basketball are gargantuan.
Big Al, a 15-year-veteran, made NBA history earlier this year as the first Dominican player to make it to the NBA Finals. After some 141 playoff games, it was Horford’s first Finals appearance. The history-making didn’t end there. In his debut, he made a little more by scoring six threes, setting the record for the most three-pointers made in a Finals debut.
At 36 years old, Horford’s heart is still in the game.
My life is a beautiful resistance because of all the blessings that God has given me.
The Hispanic history I carry with me is who I am and what I’m about – which is representing my country, my family – and I do that with a lot of honor.
What gives you joy?
Being able to be a husband and a father and instill good values and my faith into my children, trying to shape them the best way that I can.
People tend to think there not a ton of people of color in Boston, but we are a very diverse city. Boston is about 20 percent Latino and consistently growing. What kind of city is Boston to you?
Boston is a very special city. I do feel the diversity in the city of Boston. It is a city that is very welcoming. It has been very welcoming to me and my family. I have been able to explore different cultures since I’ve been here, especially in the restaurant area. I’m doing a lot of Brazilian and Columbian restaurants, and that has been pretty cool to experience.
What has being in the NBA taught you off the court?
Being in the NBA has taught me the importance of being able to work hard and the standard needed to stay in the league. I would say hard work, commitment, and dedication to what you do.
15 years in the game, first Dominican to play in the NBA Finals, and you’re still here, as passionate as ever and ready to win some more. What keeps you dedicated?
What keeps me driven is the pursuit of wanting to be great and to be able to win a NBA championship. Those are the two things that really keep at me. I am highly competitive. I want to continue to extend my time in the league and winning a NBA championship is what really drives me.
Jeneé Osterheldt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @sincerelyjenee and on Instagram @abeautifulresistance.