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14 March 2001

Dallas Mavericks Eduardo Nájera Named Undcp Goodwill Ambassador for Sports Against Drugs

- The United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) and the NBA
Team Up for anti-drug campaign for second consecutive year -

VIENNA, 14 March (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) jointly announced today that Eduardo Nájera of the Dallas Mavericks has been named a UNDCP Goodwill Ambassador for Sports Against Drugs and will be featured in a worldwide anti-drug public service campaign. For the second consecutive year, UNDCP and the NBA have teamed up to produce a 30-second public service announcement (PSA) and a poster to discourage the abuse of drugs.

"Not much has changed since I grew up in Chihuahua, Mexico,"said Nájera in the PSA. "I had a dream to be a professional basketball player, but that’s not why I avoided drugs. I avoided drugs so I could give myself a greater opportunity in life."Nájera launched the PSA and combined media campaign today at a local Dallas, Texas high school.

Produced jointly by NBA Entertainment and UNDCP, the PSA was filmed in both English and Spanish and will be shown during NBA programming internationally. A poster, featuring Nájera and the message "Sports. Not Drugs"will be distributed to youngsters around the world through UNDCP's field offices. As the only Mexican player in the NBA, a special emphasis on getting his message out will take place in Nájera’s home country.

"I am pleased that Eduardo Nájera, a player who is admired by so many children in his home region of Chihuahua, will be bringing this important message to young people throughout Mexico and the world,"said United Nations Under Secretary-General Pino Arlacchi, the Executive Director of UNDCP.

"The NBA and the United Nations are committed to delivering this important message," said Andrew Messick, Senior Vice-President, NBA International. "Nájera’s participation is an example of how the NBA’s teams and players reach out to the communities around the world and how they can also be a catalyst for positive change."

Nájera became the second Mexican-born player drafted into the NBA last year. The 6’8"(203 cm) forward was a standout at Oklahoma University where he led his team to the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 for the first time in 10 years in 1999. In his first NBA season with the Mavericks, Nájera has ignited a loyal following from his native land and is averaging 3.7 points per game.

Nájera joins NBA All-Star Vlade Divac (Former Republic of Yugoslavia, Sacramento Kings), Major League Baseball’s Pedro Martinez (Dominican Republic, Boston Red Sox), Major League Soccer’s Khodadad Azizi (Islamic Republic of Iran, San Jose Earthquakes) and cricketer and World Bowling Record Holder, Courtney Walsh (Jamaica) as part of UNDCP’s "Sports. Not Drugs"campaign.

For more information, please contact:

Zach Messitte, United Nations, messitte@un.org, (212) 963-2710 Helen Wong, NBA, hwong@nba.com, (212) 407-829


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