In many ways, Rolando Becerra has lived the American dream.
The former Spanish voice of the Texans, Becerra is being honored Sunday at Reliant Stadium during the Week 4 matchup with the Seahawks. The road from his native Cuba to Houston was a winding and thrilling one.
Born in 1949, he emigrated from Sagua La Grande to the United States, landing in the south-Florida town of Pahokee. After a stint in the U.S. Army in the 1960's, Becerra spent the bulk of the 1970's on the airwaves in Miami, covering news as well as sports.
In the early 1980's, he arrived in Houston, where he was on the air for over three decades. He's the only man to broadcast Astros, Oilers, Rockets and Texans games in Spanish, and he did it his way.
"I didn't do play-by-play," Becerra said of his style. "I would tell the audience 'This is a radio program that is happening during a football game. And it is my job to entertain you.'"
From 2002 through the 2011 season, Becerra enchanted Texans fans as the team's play-by-play voice in Spanish. And he relished every minute of it.
"I enjoyed my work," Becerra said. "It was fantastic. I loved it."
Becerra said his favorite moments on the job with the Texans were the team's first regular season game, first preseason contest, as well as the knockdown-drag out on the road in Baltimore during the 2011 playoffs.
The Texans organization is honoring Becerra for his service to the franchise, and also highlighting the amazing 30-plus year career of the Texas Radio Hall of Famer. Becerra was surprised by the festivities, and very grateful.
"I'm honored," Becerra said. "I'm flattered. I didn't expect it. I just did my work. I did the best I could."
Becerra served as the play-by-play voice of the Astros from 1986 to 1992, and held the same duties for the Houston Rockets from 1988 to 1993. As the voice of the Oilers from 1994 to 1996, he saw the exit of one pro football team in Houston, and was behind the microphone for the arrival of the next in 2002.
That sports experience, combined with his daily work as a talk-show host, landed him in the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2010. He said it was a big thrill, but ever the worker, he spent his induction day broadcasting a Texans-Jaguars regular season game.
A talented singer as well, Becerra plans on expanding his music repertoire and performing again in the coming years, and he'll also continue to enjoy time with his children and grandchildren. As far as Sunday's ceremony goes, he said it's very sweet.
"This is the icing on the cake," Becerra said.