Hassan Whiteside has been trying to learn Spanish for the past year.
Wednesday night, with the Heat in the midst of training camp at FAU, Miami’s center and the league’s defending rebounding champion shared clips of one of his Spanish lessons on Rosetta Stone through his Snapchat account. And it was hilarious.
“Man I should’ve just stuck to watching novelas [Spanish soap operas], watching Dora The Explorer and listening to Aventura [the bachata band],” Whiteside said as he laid on his bed with his laptop computer. “I should have just stuck with that. I would have learned Spanish faster.”
After he correctly identified the color white (blanco in Spanish), Whiteside said: “Oh! Tell them Blanco sent you.”
When the computer program asked him to identify ‘negro’ or the color black Whiteside said: “What’d you call me? What’d you call me computer?”
Whiteside, 28, is still in the early stages of learning a second language. He’s identifying colors and learning how to complete sentences with a word or two. He said he’s been using Rosetta Stone for two months.
“With so many Latin speaking people in America, it’s the second language. So it’s something I’m really trying to get better at,” Whiteside said after practice Thursday. “It’s a lot harder to learn a language than I thought it was. So hats off to whoever knows multiple languages. But I’m working on it. It will probably take a year, man. It’s not going to take a couple weeks.”
Whiteside said he has “a lot Latino friends.” In the past he says he’s had to rely on them to help translate.
Whiteside’s girlfriend, Ashly Ariza, is of Colombian descent. So there’s clearly a motivation to learn the language – not to mention the fact he lives in latin-flavored South Florida.
Clearly, though, his confidence with the language is growing.
After getting a question right during his Spanish lesson Wednesday night, Whiteside declared confidently: “I’m about to be all in Hialeah talking to the Cubans.”
So is Slovenian, the native tongue of teammate Goran Dragic, the next language after Spanish?
“We’re going to see,” Whiteside said. “Maybe Mandarin.”