This is Eduardo Alonso Nájera Pérez, a Mexican victim. Probably not of the swine flu, but definitely a victim of capitalist America’s NBA luxury tax, which is designed in a rather socialist manner to penalize those who spend more money.
Many have wondered where Denver would be if they still had Marcus Camby, who was sold to the Clippers for a 2nd round pick. But watching the energy, hustle, and scrapiness of the Nuggets, led by the Birdman Anderson, it’s easy to see how a big like Nájera might fit better than the frail Camby.
Nuggets coach George Karl hated to see the Big Mexican sign a 4-year $12 million contract with the Nets this past summer, but Kiki had an edict from cost-cutting owner Stan Kroenke (even though anyone might question giving that much to a 32-year old). Still, Kroenke and his wife, a Wal-Mart heir, are both on the Forbes billionaires list (Kroenke is ranked 205 and worth a meager $3 billion).
It’s clear that Denver misses a big man to compete with the Lakers. But I’m here to say that the playoffs as a whole misses the Mexican from Chihuahua, the 10th most marketable player in the NBA.
Not only that, but Nájera misses the high altitude of Colorado. He suffered several injuries with New Jersey, including a sports hernia causing him to miss the last couple months of the season, only appearing in 27 games. His minutes per game were almost cut in half, dropping his 12.8 PER average from the previous two years in Denver to 7.7.
Eduardo wanted to be back, but he wasn’t wanted in return. If this year’s playoffs are disappointing, even for a brief moment, Stan Kroenke is one of those to blame. Because of a sports mogul more interested in the bottom line than winning, Nuggets/NBA fans are deprived of NBA relevancy to today’s Mexican issues with one of their countrymen scrapping and hustling to make Denver more competitive.
- Eduardo Nájera is the Mexican version of Darius Songaila, FDA approval pending. Their hometowns, Chihuahua and Kapsukas, Lithuania, are in the application process to be sister cities.
- Nájera shares a sickening July 11th birthday with former Wizard/Bullet Rod Strickland and Chris Cooley of the Redskins … and oddly enough, with Korean singer, Kelly Poon and her American counterpart, Lil’ Kim.
- Coulda had more incidents like this: