From undrafted rookie to household name, ‘Grand Theft Alvarado’s cult following grows with Pels hype
New Orleans Pelicans fans are ready to believe in their team and guys like Jose Alvarado are the fuel for that faith
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - He’s a defensive wizard whose surreptitious steals charmed the Crescent City and frustrated NBA superstar Chris Paul.
Jose Alvarado made a memorable impression as an undrafted rookie in the 2021 season, but when he burst onto the scene, all Pelicans fans really knew was Alvarado had swagger.
Now in his sophomore season, he’s ready to add to his growing cult following. Although, he’s still answering the “tough” questions about his game.
“First question and it’s probably the most important question: can you shoot?” Fox 8 reporter Josh Roberson asked.
“Yes, I can shoot! Haha. You know damn well I can shoot,” said Alvarado.
It was Alvarado’s playoff performance last season against the future hall of famer and NOLA nemesis Paul that cemented his status as a growing local legend.
“I come from the streets; you know what I mean? It was just a thing I had to separate myself from other players, and man it worked,” said Alvarado.
Only a dozen games into this new season and Alvarado has continued honing the skills that earned him the nickname “Grand Theft Alvarado”.
“So the sneaky steal thing... Is that done? Do you think they’ll be game planning for that now?” asked Roberson.
“No way!” said Alvarado. “I mean they’ll gameplan for it but I just want them, every time I’m subbing in, I want them to know. I want them to be aware. Where’s Jose? Where’s Jose?”
But he’s more than just a great underdog story.
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From the Big Apple to the Big Easy, he’s now a vocal member of a team and a culture head coach Willie Green has instilled in this team of young stars.
“It’s a family. We’re legit like brothers. We fight, we want to get each other better though,” Alvarado says.
The words “you gotta fight” have now become synonymous with Pels fans thanks to Green’s inspirational sideline speech during last year’s play-in game.
Alvarado says it’s Green’s leadership that inspires him and his teammates.
“He’s just a great dude, an understanding dude,” said Alvarado. “He wants the best for us, so we want the best for him. We know he’s got our back 100% and when he shows that we want to go all out for him.”
Fans have taken notice too, like Rel Myers, co-founder of the fan club known as “The Pels 12″.
“This is easily the most hype there has been on this team in like a decade,” said Myers.
Myers says fans are ready to believe and players like Alvarado are the fuel for that faith.
“When certain guys come into the game, like Trey or Jose Alvarado - when those guys come in, people just start losing their minds, cheering for them,” Myers says.
And Alvarado says it’s that fan passion that makes “The Blender” a special place to ball.
“New Orleans is a basketball city,” said Alvarado. “It’s a very special atmosphere here.”
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