Eduardo “Eddie” Najera, the former Dallas Mavericks star, is back in action, and this time, he’s not stepping onto the court but into the ownership group of the Dallas Sidekicks.
Looking to bring a fresh perspective to the sports landscape, Najera said he wants to help foster the explosive growth of soccer and its potential to unite the community, with the Sidekicks as a vibrant and accessible option for everyone to enjoy the game.
For Najera, whose purchase of a stake in the Sidekicks of the Major Arena Soccer League formally was announced Friday, it’s a long-awaited return to a sport he grew up playing in Chihuahua, Mexico, before his basketball journey took off.
“Joining the ownership group of the Dallas Sidekicks is a dream come true for me,” Najera said. “Soccer has a unique power to bring people together, and with the Sidekicks, we’re going to create an atmosphere that matches the passion of the game.”
Sidekicks’ President Jesse Llamas said Najera would play an influential role in the team’s efforts to engage with the Hispanic community, linking a sense of cultural affinity and pride with a beloved sport primed for growth in North Texas.
“Our mission goes beyond the game. We’re building a vibrant platform that celebrates the game and makes meaningful connections. With Eddie’s backing, we’re aiming to kick off a new era of engagement, expansion, and excitement among a united fanbase,” Llamas said.
Besides stepping up community outreach and boosting attendance at home games at the Credit Union of Texas Event Center in Allen, Najera said in a post on the Mavericks website he’s hoping to get another big soccer supporter involved in Sidekicks activities: Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs Hall of Famer.
That post said Najera is widely considered the best NBA player from Mexico. His family moved to San Antonio in 1995, and at the University of Oklahoma, he helped the Sooners to four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.
He was the 38th overall draft pick in 2000 by the Houston Rockets. A draft-night trade then sent him to the Dallas Mavericks. He played 12 NBA seasons, including five for the Mavericks over two stints.
Najera also was instrumental in helping the NBA place more games in Mexico, and the league now has annual regular-season games in Mexico City. He retired in 2012 and later served as head coach of the Texas Legends – the Mavs’ G League franchise – for three years. He also worked as an analyst on Fox Sports Southwest.
About The Sidekicks
The Dallas Sidekicks are an American professional indoor soccer team of the Major Arena Soccer League.
The organization was established in 1984, is headquartered in Allen, Texas, and plays all home games at the Credit Union of Texas Event Center in Allen.
Photo: HK Strategies