February 01, 2011
Few energy players have profiles as large as that of Bobcats forward Eduardo Najera(notes), the second Mexican-born player in NBA history and a popular endorser south of the border. On top of that fame, he's carved out a nice niche for himself as a do-anything energy guy willing to change teams as often as the vagaries of the collective bargaining agreement demand. Najera approaches the sport like it's a serious job, and that attitude comes through in his on-court style and off-court personality.
Still, that doesn't mean he can't make a joke every once in a while. Just more than halfway into the second quarter of Monday night's 83-78 loss to the Jazz in Salt Lake City, Najera bounded into the first row of fans near halfcourt while chasing after a loose ball. After getting up from the startled Utahans, Najera stole one's beer and playfully pretended to take a sip. Except he couldn't because there was barely any left and he would probably be suspended for months for consuming alcohol on the court. Curse David Stern and his stupid rules!
You may see some hints of Paul Pierce's classic water theft in Najera's antics, with the notable difference that Pierce actually drank some of the water. Come to think of it, though, it's somewhat surprising that Najera didn't drink the rest of the beer anyway if only because, like me, he might have assumed that beer isn't served to the Mormon-heavy crowd at Energy Solutions Arena. Maybe it's an amenity you can only get courtside.
It's a good thing Najera is observant. Otherwise, we may have had to listen to a few weeks of commentary on how all NBA players are alcoholics and thugs.