Mavericks, NBA D-league Legends will help youths in Mexico

Posted Saturday, Nov. 02, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
A

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

As a kid growing up in Chihuahua, Mexico, Eduardo Najera always had dreams about opportunities.

Those dreams came to fruition in 2000 when Najera became the first Mexican-born player drafted in the NBA. Nowadays, Najera is trying to pay it forward as he has become part of a joint effort by the Dallas Mavericks, Texas Legends and Chihuahua to help youths back in his home country.

“I’m very excited about this opportunity,” said Najera, who played 13 NBA seasons and is now the head coach and general manager of the Texas Legends. “It’s been one of my dreams to build that bridge.

“Of course I watched the NBA when I was a kid and now I’m very excited that kids get to experience it and get to come to the beautiful city of Dallas, and get to experience and watch the best basketball in the world. I think that by bringing young boys and girls out of Chihuahua and bringing them up here, it’s going to be an inspiration, and it’s going to be a motivation for many of them.”

Donnie Nelson, the president of basketball operations for the Mavericks and owner of the Legends, applauds Najera for reaching out and giving back to his community.

“He grew up in the state of Chihuahua and did it the old fashion way,” Nelson said. “He forged a bridge of opportunity back when he was playing.

“I can’t think of a better example — not only to the kids of North Texas, but also Chihuahua — in terms of not only playing with your heart and head and passion, but he also stands up for the most important things.”

Spanish connection

Jose Calderon had a nice visit with Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol before Saturday’s game.

Calderon and Gasol are good friends and play ball together for the Spanish national team, and the two had some catching up to do.

“It’s always fun — he’s my friend,” Calderon said. “It’s almost like a Spanish game with Dallas.

“He’s a great guy, a great friend. We’ve been together for awhile — like a long time — and it’s nice to see him and the way he’s improved. Nobody was expecting for him to be this good — an All-Star caliber player.”

Calderon will get to visit the other Gasol brother on Tuesday when the Mavs host Pau and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Asked who is the better of the two Gasol brothers, Calderon said: “I think they’re different players. Marc is maybe more of a [center], and Pau maybe is more of a [power forward].

“They both were All-Stars, and [Pau] Gasol has a couple of [NBA championship] rings. I think Marc has more years left, so we’ll see what happens.”

Difference maker

Whenever Brandan Wright returns from the fractured left shoulder injury he suffered during an Oct. 8 practice, the Mavs expect to get better scoring and defense at the center position.

Unlike starting center Samuel Dalembert, Wright is more athletic, a better shot-blocker and runs the court better.

“Brandan makes a huge difference,” owner Mark Cuban said. “Sam is more of a jump shooter and a finisher, whereas Brandan is more of a slasher to the basket and can finish from 5-to-10 feet.

“They’re different players. I think you can put those two out there together and Brandan will make a big difference for us, so we’re hoping he gets back sooner rather than later.”

The Mavs still list Wright as being out indefinitely, with coach Rick Carlisle giving updates every Friday.

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Thursday, October 30Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Thursday, October 30Full Scoreboard
Washington 10/30 7:00 PM ET
Orlando TV: CSN-DC, FSN-FL
New York 10/30 8:00 PM ET
Cleveland TV: TNT
Detroit 10/30 8:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FSN-DET, FSN-N
Utah 10/30 8:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: ROOT-NW, FSN-SW
Oklahoma City 10/30 10:30 PM ET
LA Clippers TV: TNT
Full Scoreboard
Week 9Full Scoreboard
Thursday
New Orleans 8:25 PM ET
Carolina TV: NFL Network
Sunday
Jacksonville 1:00 PM ET
Cincinnati TV: CBS
Tampa Bay 1:00 PM ET
Cleveland TV: FOX
Arizona 1:00 PM ET
Dallas TV: FOX
Philadelphia 1:00 PM ET
Houston TV: FOX
NY Jets 1:00 PM ET
Kansas City TV: CBS
San Diego 1:00 PM ET
Miami TV: CBS
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FOX
St. Louis 4:05 PM ET
San Francisco TV: FOX
Denver 4:25 PM ET
New England TV: CBS
Oakland 4:25 PM ET
Seattle TV: CBS
Baltimore 8:30 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: NBC
Monday
Indianapolis 8:30 PM ET
NY Giants TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Thursday, October 30Full Scoreboard
Boston 10/30 7:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: NESN, MSG-BUF
Winnipeg 10/30 7:00 PM ET
New Jersey TV: TSN3, MSG
Los Angeles 10/30 7:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: NHLN, TVA2, FSN-W, ROOT
Chicago 10/30 7:30 PM ET
Ottawa TV: CSN-CH, RDSI, TSN5
Philadelphia 10/30 7:30 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: CSN-PHI, SUN
Arizona 10/30 7:30 PM ET
Florida TV: FSN-AZ, FSN-FL
San Jose 10/30 8:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: CSN-CA, FSN-N+
Anaheim 10/30 8:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: FSN-PT, FSN-MW
NY Islanders 10/30 9:00 PM ET
Colorado TV: MSG+, Altitude
Montreal 10/30 10:00 PM ET
Vancouver TV: RDS, SN360
Full Scoreboard