I am not a basketball fan, but this afternoon I spent a few minutes watching a game.
The Chicago players were all wearing jersies that said “Los Bulls”.
The Miami players were all wearing jersies that said “El Heat”.
Do English speakers no longer watch sports?
And why the half-way translations? Why “Los Bulls” rather than “Los Toros”? Why “El Heat” rather than “El Calor”? My college Spanish teacher, who fancied himself a political activist, would have considered a half-assed translation far more offensive than an English-only policy.
Phoenix has a version of their jersey that says “Los Suns”. I think all of these are just nods to the Latino communities in their respective cities.
As for why they use “Los Bulls” instead of “Los Toros”, etc., my understanding is that it’s not uncommon in (American) Latino vernacular to use the English name of a sports team instead of its Spanish equivalent. Not that this is a consistent thing - I do know from sports media in Puerto Rico that Spanish-equivalent names ARE used (i.e. “Los Reales” for the K.C. Royals), but I think it might be an either-or thing in communities where both English and Spanish are used.
I don’t think I’d go so far as to say jerseys that say things like “Los Bulls” are offensive. I’ve never seen the Montreal Canadiens referred to as anything but that, even though that’s the French equivalent of what English-speakers would call “the Canadians”.
Poking around the sports section, it looks like people are much more likely to translate the names of baseball teams than basketball teams. In Spanish-language media, the Braves are Los Bravos, the White Sox are Las Medias Blancas, the Twins are Los Mellizos, etc.
Yes - though, the US Latino and the Puerto Rico media markets of course arrive at these things from slightly different directions.
In the US it’s a shout-out to the latino community, who are a huge market segment for the NBA (specially after the league started incorporating Argentine, Spanish, and Puerto Rican players). Besides, remember, the English names of the teams, in their distinctive lettering and colors, are their registered Trademarks, so their merchandising will use those. In the case of “Los Suns”, that jersey supposedly raised some eyebrows when they were worn at home games in Arizona shortly after passage of the immigration-papers law.
(And BTW there’s a strong faction within the US Latino cultural environment that seeks to embrace Spanglish as a valid expression side by side with Spanish and English, and accept those who have partly or wholly assimilated linguistically as a part of the community. Descriptivism vs. prescriptivism, I guess)
Down here in PR, and in some other Latin American home markets, the rendering into proper Spanish for *baseball *teams, most often those with a “history” (and/or who have a Spanish equivalent that makes a decent name), was developed mostly by 1940s/50s Mexican and Cuban broadcasters, using an old standard of style. There having been latinos in MLB since a long way back, it made sense to have a very large fan base in the Hispanosphere. Those of us who moved stateside already were used to translated baseball team names and for the MLB and broadcasters it meant money to give us the familiar stuff.
Thus there’s Los Cachorros (Cubs), Los Medias Rojas (the Red Sox), Los Gigantes, los Atléticos; BUT there’s los Diamondbacks (rarely translated as Los Cascabeles, the Rattles), Los Rockies, Los Rays. Among old teams, Los Dodgers has by now mostly replaced Los Esquivadores (literal translation); Orioles and Phillies are made hispanophonic (Los Filis). The Texas Rangers were a bit of an issue since we do not have a word that succintly catches the sense of a “Texas ranger” this context so either we go Spanglish or they get turned into Los Guardabosques (forest rangers) los Vigilantes, or los Rancheros (cognate).
For US leagues that were not particularly popular here until at best the mid-70s (e.g. NBA, NFL, NCAA, etc.) and did not get a decent number of Latino players until the turn of the century, our sportscasters generally used the modern standard style practice of NOT translating proper nouns. Still you do hear someone every so often mention Los Toros or Los Laguneros or Los Santos.