Colombian gets a seat at the NBA table
Gersson Rosas is "El Jefe" of the Minnesota Timberwolves and the first Latino in charge of an NBA team.
With all the hype surrounding this year’s NBA playoff season, history occurred.
It wasn't the best seven-game series in league history between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors that ended with a last-second four-bounce shot off the rim that went through the hoop. Nor was it the television ratings skyrocketing compared to that of Major League Baseball.
History was happening in the city of Minnesota.
On May 6, the Minnesota Timberwolves named Gersson Rosas as the team's President of Basketball Operations. He became the first Latino in NBA history to run a front office. Rosas is now responsible for all decisions made within the Timberwolves' basketball operations department.
"This is a special opportunity in a great place, and I am excited to pursue the franchise's goal of building a world-class organization with a sustainable winning model for Timberwolves fans to be proud of," said Rosas.
A native of Bogota, Colombia, Rosas, 40, came to the United States as a child, and lived in Houston, Texas. At that time, the Houston Rockets were dominating the NBA. Back home, there was only one sport that dominated the airwaves. "In Colombia, its soccer. It's Futbol. There's not a lot of basketball going on," said Rosas. "To come to this country and fall in love with this sport and grab a passion to it where you know, 'This is what I want to be involved in,' it's something that drove me."
Rosas has spent the last 17 years with the Rockets organization. He started as an intern within the teams' operations department for two years before becoming the Personal Scout/Video Coordinator. In 2007, he was promoted to Director of Scouting, and Director of Player Personnel in 2008. For the last seven years, Rosas had been the Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Rockets.
As the first Latino in this position, Rosas immediately understands there is a responsibility to diversify the sport as much as he can both on and off the court.
"Specifically, for the Latino community, it's near and dear to my heart," Rosas said. "I know how the love of the game has grown and developed in South America, and it's important to me, getting to this level to be able to give back and help others and motivate others and to show them if I made it, they can make it. And I can play a part in helping them get excited about this and get involved in this. That, to me, is an impact that speaks outside of what happens on the floor. That impacts kids and families at a higher level."
With basketball becoming more of a world-wide sport, Rosas has quietly become the catalyst for more diversity to take place by opening more doors for other Latinos and minorities within the league.