Carlos Arroyo has called Miami home for many years since arriving to play for Florida International University. His basketball journey has taken him around the world only to come back to his adopted hometown to play for the Miami Heat. Even then it wasn't smooth sailing this season. Arroyo stepped up to become the starting point guard early in the season over Mario Chalmers only to lose it months later to Rafer Alston and subsequently relegated to the end of the bench. Despite all of this, Arroyo has become the stabilizing force running the offense in tandem with Dwyane Wade and was credited with helping turn the season around in the final months of the regular season. Before leaving Miami for Boston to start the playoffs the following day, Arroyo took a few minutes of his time to talk one-on-one with Hot Hot Hoops.
I asked this same question to Udonis Haslem and James Jones: What does it mean to you to play in Miami for the Heat?
It feels great. It’s something that not every player in this league has. To be playing in front of your friends and family and to go home after games and to have that support is something that not everybody gets and we’re definitely fortunate to have that.
The outpouring of fan support for you has been incredible especially at the home games.
It’s overwhelming and truly a blessing to have that kind of support from the Hispanic community and the Puerto Ricans coming to the games. They always go out of their way to let me know they’re here and supporting me. It lets me know that I’m doing the right things. For me it’s "x" motivation to keep doing well and put my name out there and reach out to the community whenever I can to do events and charities and so forth.
Why did you choose to move to Miami and to play for Florida International University?
It was closer to home. It was an opportunity that I couldn’t refuse. I was walking into Division I basketball coming from Puerto Rico and getting the starting job. It was a great time for me. No brainer!
What did you learn playing in Israel last year and getting that championship experience?
I learned a lot about my game. I had a different responsibility. I was playing a lot of minutes so I needed to be more productive. That’s what the team needed me to do. I was the leader out there. I just had fun, man. That’s what I wanted. I wanted to play minutes and have a different role on the team. I learned how to be patient with decision-making and controlling the tempo of the game. All those things.
Did you know that you have the second best selling Heat jersey behind Wade?
I had no idea. It’s great! Never in a million years would I have thought that coming in here as an un-guaranteed and try to make the team that this moment would be here. I’ve certainly worked hard for everything that I have right now. Since I was a kid I knew that nobody was going to give me anything so I had to bust my butt for everything.
It’s been tremendous this year. The welcoming and now being where I am right now is truly a blessing.
What was it like going through this season with the ups-and-downs of being a reserve, then starting, to being benched and then back to the starting 5?
At times it was frustrating because you’re human and you want to do well. You want to be out there and you want to compete. But I understood what my role was and I just stayed ready. I always told coach that whatever decision you make I’m going to stay ready for whenever you need me and whatever my teammates need me to do. I never put my head down. I stayed positive and everything changed for the best. And here I am.
Un mensaje especial para tus "fans"...
Bueno, mi fanatico, que te puedo decir? Le tengo mucho cariño y mucho respecto porque los fanaticos mios siempre han estado ahi desde el principio de mi carrera y me apoyan todo lo que yo hago en la cancha y afuera de la cancha. Y la verdad que me siento orgulloso y una persona bien afortunado y bien bendecida de poder obtener la oportunidad de tener los fanaticos que yo tengo.