MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s Eduardo Najera, who officially retired Wednesday from professional basketball due to persistent injury problems, said he wants to bring an NBA franchise to his homeland in the near future.
“The main goal, my goal that I’m dreaming about, is to bring an NBA franchise (to Mexico), maybe in five or 10 years. It’s a dream of mine, but it’s possible,” Najera, who wrapped up his 12-year career with the Charlotte Bobcats, said.
“It something that’s difficult, but it’s not impossible. The NBA has its rules, but in the end this is a business and if Canada can do it, why not us? It would be a long process, for the future,” Najera said.
Mexico has been ready to have a professional basketball, football or baseball team for years because there’s a big market and a lot of fans, the 36-year-old Najera said.
“To achieve that goal, first I’ll have to go through a learning process and I’m ready to work and dedicate all my time to it,” Najera, a journeyman forward who averaged 4.9 points and 3.7 rebounds a game during his career, said.
Najera retired Wednesday to become the new head coach of the NBA Development League’s Texas Legends, replacing Del Harris. Under the deal, Najera will also become a minority owner of the Legends, a team co-owned by Dallas Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson.
In his role as a Development League coach, he will open doors for more Mexican players who want to play in the NBA, Najera said.
Najera was chosen in the second round of the 2000 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets, which immediately traded him to the Dallas Mavericks.
“My goal was to play 10 years in the NBA. Only 3 percent of players are able to do it and I played 12. I’m satisfied. Injuries were another challenge in my career, not a disadvantage,” Najera said.
The Mexican noted that countryman Gustavo Ayon, a member of the Orlando Magic, is still in the NBA and has a “bright future.” EFE