Eduardo Alonso Nájera Pérez (born July 11, 1976 in Ciudad Meoqui, Chihuahua, Mexico) is a basketball player in the National Basketball Association, currently playing forward for the Denver Nuggets. He is known for his rebounding and his tenacity on defense.

Basketball career 編輯

Najera is only the second Mexican-born player to join the NBA, and is hugely popular among both Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.

Najera played college basketball at the University of Oklahoma from 1997-2000, becoming a major star there. He helped the team to four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances during his college career, as well as finishing in the school's all-time top ten in nine statistical categories.

Najera helped Mexico achieve fourth place finishes in the 1999 World Games and World University Games.

He saw significant action as a member of the Dallas Mavericks in 2000-01 and 2001-02, but recurrent knee injuries have limited his action in his last two years in Dallas.

He was then traded to the Golden State Warriors, where he put in modest minutes and was a solid contributor.

He was then sent to the Nuggets, where he has flourished despite injuries.

He is still well known and popular in Oklahoma, as displayed when the Denver Nuggets played the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets (In Oklahoma City). When it was announced he was subbing in the game, loud cheers were heard from the fans. This was probably due to the fact that the University of Oklahoma basketball program does not get many players into the pros, and the ones that do make it are remembered (such as Wayman Tisdale).

On April 27, 2006 Najera started his first playoff game for the Nuggets in Game 3 of their first round series facing the Los Angeles Clippers. He replaced Kenyon Martin who was suspended indefinately for "conduct detrimental to the team".

Off the court 編輯

Najera received the Chip Hilton Player of the Year Award from the Basketball Hall of Fame, an award given to a player who has demonstrated personal character both on and off the court, and has served as a United Nations Drug Control Program Goodwill Ambassador for Sports Against Drugs.

Najera established the Eduardo Najera Foundation for Latino Achievement in 2004, which provides college scholarships for outstanding Latino students facing barriers to their educations.

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