Look out, Heat center Hassan Whiteside is trying to learn Spanish

BOCA RATON — When Hassan Whiteside isn’t blocking shots or grabbing rebounds, he’s … learning Spanish.

The Heat center took to Snapchat on Wednesday night to document the Rosetta Stone Spanish lessons he’s taking during his free time. And as you would expect, Whiteside is having fun with it.

“Man, I should have just stuck to watching novelas [Spanish soap operas] and watching “Dora the Explorer” and listening to Aventura [a bachata group that plays Spanish music],” Whiteside said on Snapchat. “I should have just stuck with that. I would have learned Spanish faster. I’m not going to lie to ya’ll.”

Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) at Media Day at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida on September 25, 2017. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Whiteside said he’s been using Rosetta Stone to learn Spanish for the past two months. His girlfriend Ashly Ariza, who is of Colombian descent, has pushed him to learn the language.

“It’s been good,” Whiteside said when asked about his Spanish lessons after Thursday’s practice. “It’s giving me something to work on. 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.”

Whiteside’s Spanish lesson on Wednesday had to do with colors. After correctly identifying “blanco” as white, the program asked him to point out “negro.”

“What you call me, computer?” Whiteside said in response on Snapchat. “… I’m not going to let you keep calling me that.”

Despite the jokes, Whiteside is taking his Spanish lessons seriously. He calls it “Rosetta Stone mode.”

“Listen, I’m out here working,” Whiteside said on Snapchat. “I’m trying to better myself. You got to start somewhere. Don’t laugh at me. People that speak multiple languages, anybody bilingual, I salute y’all because it’s not easy learning another language. … I’m about to be all in Hialeah talking to the Cubans.”

When asked Thursday how many weeks it will take for him to be fluent in Spanish, Whiteside said “it will probably take a year,” not weeks.

“I’m getting more consistent,” he said. “I got to make it an everyday thing because I can learn a paragraph or how to speak two paragraphs, and then I’ll forget it. I have to stay on top of it.

“With so many Latin speaking people in America, it’s the second language. So it’s something I’m really getting better at.”

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