Jaime Jaquez Jr, first Mexican selected in the first round of the NBA draft

BARRIO (Marca) – On June 21, a historic moment was realized for Mexican basketball, as for the third time in history and the first occasion in 23 years, a player with Mexican nationality was chosen in the NBA Draft. Jaime Jaquez Jr. was selected by the Miami Heat with the 18th overall pick in the first round of the grand event held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

‘Triple J’ is the first Mexican to be chosen in the first round of the NBA Draft and joins the reigning Eastern Conference champions who lost in the Finals against the Denver Nuggets.

Jaquez, the third Mexican selected in an NBA Draft

With this, Jaquez has joined a very select group that was led by Manuel Raga, who was the pioneer when he was chosen in the tenth round (#167 overall) by the Atlanta Hawks in the 1970 Draft. Nowadays, unlike in the past, the draft consists of only two rounds. ‘Manolo’ had a long career in Europe but never played a single game in the NBA.

Before Jaquez, the other member of this prestigious club is the legendary Eduardo Najera, widely regarded as the greatest exponent in the history of this sport in Mexico. In the 2000 Draft, he was selected in the second round (#38 overall) by the Houston Rockets and immediately traded to the Dallas Mavericks, with whom he made his debut that same season. He is the only one so far to be drafted and play in the NBA.

How many Mexicans have played in the NBA?

If Jaquez plays at least a second in a regular season game of the premier basketball league in the world, he will not only equal Najera’s achievement, but also join a list that includes the aforementioned idol from Meoqui, Chihuahua, as well as Horacio Llamas, Gustavo Ayon, Jorge Gutierrez, and Juan Toscano-Anderson as the sixth Mexican to become an NBA player.

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