Much has been said about Al Horford and the $97 million contract that landed him on the 76ers’ roster this season: that the Boston Celtics have been robbed of their best center, that the 33-year-old adapts well to change and shows no signs of aging, that playing next to Joel Embiid could jam the Sixers offense.

But some may not know the significance the veteran Dominican player has for Latino communities.

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It is said that anyone of Dominican descent who hits the big time must have #PlatanoPower, and the man born Alfred Joel Horford Reynoso from Puerto Plata seems to have it in abundance. He’s made every playoff since he started 12 seasons ago. His wife is pageant royalty. And in a sport for which Caribbeaners once had very little appetite, he is now one of its icons:

Horford Vega family celebrated their youngest daughter's 1st year on Sunday. From left to right, Alí­a, Al, Ean, Ava and Amelia.
Instagram Story Posting by @AmeliaVega
Horford Vega family celebrated their youngest daughter's 1st year on Sunday. From left to right, Alí­a, Al, Ean, Ava and Amelia.
  • Horford is one of very few Latinos who play for the NBA. According to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, only 2.4 percent of players in the 2018-19 season were Latino — rising from 2.3 percent the year before.
  • The five-time all-star player is the son of NBA legend Tito Horford, the first Dominican-born player to make it to the league. Alfredo William Horford, born in La Romana in 1966, played three seasons, the first two with the Milwaukee Bucks. Tito had Al while married to then-sports commentator and philanthropist Arelis Reynoso Burgos.
  • Horford is married to Miss Universe 2003, Amelia Vega, a Dominican from Santiago de los Caballeros and the only contestant in the pageant’s history to have won on behalf of the Caribbean country. The couple, who married in 2011, have three children: son Ean, 4, and daughters Alía, 2, and Ava, 1. Vega recently posted an Instagram story asking followers where to find Dominicans in Philly: “What do they do, where are they? I want to know, so they can help me out.”

This was all news to some Twitter followers.

But for local Dominicans, Philly’s embrace of Horford is a source of pride. Yocasta Lora, chairwoman of the board of the professional organization Dominicans in the Delaware Valley, shared her emotions on Twitter.