Tito Horford, Al Horford’s Father: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Twitter Al Horford's father Tito.

Last year in the Eastern Conference 1st Round, the 2nd-seeded Celtics just barely edged the 7th-seeded Bucks in 7 games. In the Game 7 in Boston, Al Horford fueled a 112-96 victory with 26 points and 8 rebounds to help advance to the conference semifinals.

A year later, the roles are reversed. Milwaukee holds the top overall seed in the entire NBA Playoffs, while the Celtics visit Wisconsin for Game One as the No. 4 seed. Horford figures to play a huge role again to help Boston contain Giannis Antetokuompo inside.

As many know, he comes a legacy of basketball big men. His father Tito actually was a 7-foot-1 center for the Bucks in the early 90s and has been a part of Horford’s prep for this series (per MassLive). Here’s what you need to know about the elder Horford.

1. Tito Was Born in La Romana in the Dominican Republic Before Moving to Houston for High School

Tito Horford was born on January 19, 1966 in La Romana, a city of about 130,000 in the southeast corner of the Dominican Republic. According to a 1986 story by Bill Brubaker of the Los Angeles Times, he moved to a town called San Pedro de Macoris.

He grew up in San Pedro de Macoris, a town of 78,562 on the south coast of the Dominican Republic that is famous for its smooth dark rum and for having produced more present-day major league baseball players–14, at latest count–than any other city its size.

He grew into a 7-footer by his high school days (wearing size 17D sneakers), which led to a contract in the nation’s capital of Santo Domingo for the Dominican Basketball Federation. As Brubaker states, he scored only 2.1 points per game for a club called Naco, but earned the attention of several Houston area coaches.

Former Houston player Darryl Brown was so impressed with his ability that he phoned Terry Kirkpatrick, then a Houston assistant coach. Kirkpatrick relayed word about Horford to Bob Gallagher, a steel-industry executive who coached at Marian Christian High School and who often played pickup basketball on the Houston campus. The strategy seemed obvious: Bring Horford to Houston to play high school ball, then keep him there to play college ball.

By September 1982, Horford enrolled at Marian Christian.

2. Tito Was Forced to Transfer Twice in College Due to Inadvertent NCAA Violations

Horford thrived at Marian, earning McDonald’s All-American honors in 1985. Much like the plan of the Houston coaches, Horford was set to suit up for the Cougars. However, according to the Washington Post at the time, he was ruled ineligible to play for Houston as the coaches violated two NCAA rules during his recruitment.

Much of the issue came from schools promising things for Tito’s half-brother Tony Baltazar.

“I have told the NCAA that we were offered a supply of beef, food, medicine and money if Tito went to Louisiana State,” Tony Baltazar said. “I was offered a job in Houston if Tito went to Houston. But, as you can see . . . “

This shut down the opportunity to play for LSU, as well. Various coaches that participated in the recruitment talked about the arms race to provide basic things for Horford and his impoverished family. He eventually signed with Miami.

“I doubt anyone’s ever been the route that Tito Horford has been,” Miami Coach Bill Foster said to the Post. “I don’t know who is right, wrong or whatever. But, after all he’s been through, Tito’s got to be a little nervous about believing anybody. About anything.”

3. His 2 seasons at Miami Earned Him a 2nd Round Selection in the 1988 NBA Draft

Despite just a 32-30 record in 2 seasons in Coral Gables, Horford acquitted himself well. He averaged 14.2 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game for the Hurricanes.

This earned him the No. 39 overall selection in the 2nd round of the 1988 NBA Draft to the Milwaukee Bucks. He played there for under 3 seasons, averaging just 1.6 points and 1.4 rebounds. He saw time on the 1993 Washington Bullets summer roster before moving towards EuroLeague basketball, according to SI.com.

Tito was the first Dominican to play in the NBA, spending the 1988–89 and ’89–90 seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks (He also played three games for the Washington Bullets). Al was young then, but as he got older he watched his dad travel the world, playing basketball in France and Italy while also playing semipro at home in the Dominican Republic as well as for the national team.

4. Considered the Most Famous Dominican Basketball Player Ever, He Frequently Gives Back to the Community

While his father was a Bahamian immigrant (who eventually moved to Lansing in Michigan), Tito is best identified as the most famous Dominican basketball player ever. It made incremental progress for Latino-born players in the NBA. As of April 2019, Latinos consisted of just 2.3% of NBA rosters. Tito passed on the responsibility of representing his community to Al.

“It’s something that I carry with me every day, and I understand the responsibility that’s on my shoulders,” Horford said. “And it’s something that I embrace. I really enjoy it, and it’s something that I’m proud of, to be a Latino.”

Father and son work side by side to help the youth sports communities in their home country. According to the Boston Globe, they helped bring new basketball courts and sports facilities to the town of Puerto Plata.

Tito Horford, who played briefly in the NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks (1988-90), has already run a basketball clinic at one of the courts. And the other has evolved into a popular mixed-use space where they have held girls’ volleyball matches, zumba classes and dominoes tournaments.

Horford insisted this is just the beginning. There are plans to refurbish at least three more courts in the Dominican Republic, and he is planning on attending events there after the Celtics season ends. Horford is also helping to fund four scholarships that will allow four Dominican students to attend high school in the US.

5. Tito is Married to Sports Journalist Arelis Reynoso & Many of Their Children are Basketball Players, too

Arelis Reynoso is Tito’s wife and Al’s mother, and according to a Boston Globe story she wrote, she has been a sports journalist since 1988.

Aside from Al, Tito produced another major basketball player. His son Jon played for 4 seasons at the University of Michigan, helping the Wolverines to the National Title Game in 2013 and the Elite 8 in 2014. He averaged 2.9 points and 2.9 rebounds in Ann Arbor before transferring to Florida. An uptick statistically has led to a G-League career with the Canton Charge and Grand Rapids Drive.

Tito’s brother, Kelly Horford played at Florida Atlantic University from 1992 to 1996.

On the court and in the press row, the Horfords are a sports family through and through.

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