Eduardo Najera still has a Spanish accent, a reminder his NBA journey is unique.
Barely able to speak English when he arrived at the University of Oklahoma in the mid-1990s, Najera is in his ninth NBA season.
The first NBA player from Mexico, considered a long shot to make the Mavericks’ roster his rookie year, Najera was asked if his career has been everything he hoped for.
"Most definitely,” Najera said. "I’ve had some great moments. The best thing going for me is my experience. I know how to play the game. I’m a pretty smart player.”
Najera’s career stats are modest (5.3 points and 4.0 rebounds) in 515 career games, but he’s always played on winning teams. All eight seasons — with Dallas and Denver — he’s been on playoff teams, a streak he hopes continues with the New Jersey Nets.
"One year, we beat Minnesota in the first round. In Game 3, I had a monster game that made a huge difference for us,” Najera said. "I remember beating Utah in the first round when they had Karl Malone and John Stockton, and everybody doubted us.
"I also had great memories with Denver.