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About The Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame

In the United States, there are Sports Halls of Fame that honor professional and amateur athletes in football, basketball, track, tennis, baseball and other sports. There are also ethnic halls of fame that recognize outstanding athletes from different groups including Italian, Jewish, Irish and blacks to name a few. But, there was not a single sports hall of fame that would recognize, honor and salute the outstanding accomplishments/achievements and contributions of our Latino/Hispanic Sports Heritage not only from the United States but also those who came to this country from Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Central and South America and from the vast talent from the Caribbean Islands. The Latin-American International Sports Hall of Fame/Salon de Ia Fama Latinoamericano del Deporte was organized in Laredo, Texas in 1974. At first it was to celebrate, honor and promote local and regional individuals who had excelled at their particular sport but soon it opened the doors to include National and International Professional Athletes. It also recognizes as Sportsman of the Year individuals who continue to preserve and enhance our Latino culture, values and educational opportunities for our youth and who contribute to the betterment of the City of Laredo and South Texas. There have been since its inception an equal recognition of women athletes inductees. It was important to find role models for our youth and the organizers wanted to include all ages, regardless of sex in their programs. The Latin Hall was also created to promote economic development and stimulate business activity in downtown Laredo when local businesses are contracted to provide services to our inductees, their families and guests who visit Laredo during the annual 3-day welcome reception, media luncheon and induction banquet celebration weekend. Through the years. (1975-2014), and with limited amount of funds the organization has, had the opportunity to help the youth of our community with scholarships and other youth activity fundraisers. Plans are to have a Latin Sports International Hall of Fame Museum (downtown) (soon) which will be a first for the United States and to provide clinics (free of charge) to instruct our youth in different sports.


The Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 1975 to recognize individuals with good and proper standing in the community, high morals and values and who have excelled in sports and/or have contributed to the promotion of sports and goodwill in the Latino community.

Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame

47th Annual Induction Banquet

Gilbert Cruz

J.W. Nixon High School
Texas 5-A All-State 3rd Team
Laredo 1982
Concordia Lutheran College
Conference Champions
Austin, Texas

What are the requirements to have your team's jersey number retired? We used to think
that an athlete who had his jersey number retired must have been able to jump out of a building
or have his jumpers come raining down from the sky hitting nothing but net.
We now understand that the requirements to have your number retired comes down to one
thing - Respect.
Gilbert Cruz earned his respect through his Lmselfish play, hard work on and off the court and his ability to make those around him
Even though Gilbert played many sports, his love for basketball was evident from the beginning. He was always ahead of other kids his
age and competed in leagues designed for older participants.
He played for the Mustangs from 1980-82, earning All-District honors in two seasons and was the District's Most Valuable Player as a
senior. He captured the imagination of Laredo and South Texas cage fans with his leadership and scoring ability.
Cruz, who started playing organized ball in the Boys and Girls Club Leagues, averaged 23 points per game for the Mustangs and was
selected to the Texas Class 5-AAAAA Texas Sportswriters Association All-State Third Team.
From High School, Cruz went on and starred at Concordia Lutheran College in Austin, where he helped his team win the Conference
His J.W. Nixon High School basketball jersey No. 23 was retired recently and proudly hangs in the school's gym.
Cruz is now a senior vice president for International Bank of Commerce in San Antonio.