One of the most respected minds in the NBA, Donnie Nelson is involved in every aspect of the Mavericks basketball operations. Nelson, who owns 22 years of NBA experience, came to Dallas on Jan. 2, 1998 after three seasons as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns.Nelson was instrumental in rebuilding a team that suffered a decade-long playoff draught into a perennial playoff team and championship contender. Under Nelson the Mavericks have won 66.0% of their games with three 60+ win seasons, including a franchise-record 67-win season in 2007 which tied for the sixth best record in NBA history. The Mavericks are also one of just six NBA franchises to win 60 games or more three times in a five year span. During his tenure, the Mavericks have made the playoffs seven consecutive seasons, been to the Western Conference Finals twice, reached a franchise milestone in 2006 when they advanced to the NBA Finals, and won their first Division Title in 20 years in 2007.Nelson successfully coached the Mavericks while his father and former head coach Don Nelson was recovering from cancer surgery in 2000-01. Donnie led the team to a 15-8 record while serving as head coach. He was the top assistant to his father at Golden State, where he served the organization a total of eight seasons (1986-94). Nelson was also a regional scout for the Milwaukee Bucks for two seasons (1984-86).Since 1990, Nelson has served as an assistant coach for the Lithuanian National Team. In that span, he has helped them win three bronze medals in four Olympiads, a silver medal in the 1995 European Championships and a gold medal in the 2003 European Championships. In appreciation of his contributions, Nelson was awarded the Grand Cross of the Commander by the President of Lithuania in 2004. He also serves as Honorary Ambassador for the League of Industries.In 1994, Nelson proudly served as a scout for USA Basketball at the World Championships in Toronto. Dream Team II went undefeated on their way to capturing a gold medal that year.Nelson’s tireless efforts helped crack two walls that once seemed unbreakable. He was responsible for signing the first player from both the Soviet Union (Sarunas Marciulionis) and China (Wang Zhizhi) to NBA contracts. In addition, Nelson holds the honor of being the only American coach to participate in a Soviet National training camp. On June 24, 1998, Nelson engineered a deal that brought a relatively unknown German and an unheralded Canadian to Dallas. Both Dirk Nowitzki (2007) and Steve Nash (2005, 2006) would go on to be named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, giving the Mavericks the distinction of being the only team in history to acquire two future MVPs in the same transaction.”Donnie has been my biggest supporter from day one,” said seven-time NBA All-Star and 2007 MVP Dirk Nowitzki. “He works harder than any coach or president in the NBA. He thinks about basketball 24 hours a day.”Nelson also serves as the Chief Advisor for the Chinese National Basketball Team. During his three years of service, they equaled their all-time best Olympic finish (8th) in Athens and won the Gold Medal at the 2005 and 2007 Asian Championships. He is currently working with the Chinese Basketball Association in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Nelson’s first exposure to the continent of Africa took place in 1992. He has conducted clinics in North Africa, Senegal, Nigeria and South Africa. Nelson is especially proud to be associated with the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program in Africa. This outreach program provides educational opportunities to challenged African athletes. The Mavericks roster currently boasts two African-born players.Nelson founded the “Global Games” in Dallas, which gives area high school kids a chance to test themselves against the top Junior National Teams in the world. The games completed their eighth season this past summer.In Dec., 2002, Nelson’s heart for disadvantaged youth led to the creation of the Assist Youth Foundation which has since combined with the charity organization known as Heroes. The foundation’s goal is to advance opportunities for underprivileged kids in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and across the globe.A 1986 graduate of Wheaton College (Ill.) , Nelson was inducted into the school’s Hall of Honor on Oct. 3, 1997. He led Wheaton in scoring and was an NABC All-Midwest selection. Born Sept. 10, 1962, he and his wife, Lotta, have a daughter, Christie (8/10/92) and son, D.J. (5/24/94).
Evan Wyly is a Founder and an Owner of the Texas Legends, since 2009. He is a Founder of Maverick Capital, an investment management firm, since 1990, serving as a Managing Partner through 2007. He was a Founder and Director of Green Mountain Energy, the nation’s leading provider of cleaner energy from 1997 until its sale in 2010, serving as Chairman from 2003. He has also served as a director of three publicly traded companies: Sterling Commerce from 1995 to 2000, Sterling Software from 1992 to 2000, and Michaels Stores from 1992 to 2001. He is a native of Dallas, Texas. He earned a B.A. in Economics from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He is a member of YPO Gold and a member emeritus of the Advisory Faculty of the Institute for Private Investors. He serves on the board of the Maverick Capital Foundation and has served on the boards of several other not-for-profit organizations. He is married and has 3 children and 7 grandchildren.
Eduardo Najera retired from the NBA in 2013 to become the first Mexican-born head coach under the NBA umbrella, General Manager and minority owner of the Texas Legends. As General Manager he is involved in all major decisions for the Texas Legends which include player transactions, scouting and drafting.
Eduardo began his twelve year stint as a player in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks in 2000 following four years of play at the University of Oklahoma. He was the first Mexican-born player to be drafted in NBA history. He played with the Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets, New Jersey Nets, a second stint with Dallas, and finished his career with the Charlotte Bobcats. In 639 career games (85 starts), he averaged 5.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 18.7 minutes per game.
Throughout his NBA career, he was a leader on and off the court and was known as a dependable member of the team and valued member of the locker room. The work ethic that Eduardo exhibited as a player transcended into keeping him on the court in a new capacity as head coach. His knowledge of the NBA game served him well in his first year with the Texas Legends and provides great promise for a long-term future in the NBA.
Eduardo commanded respect both on and off the court from his players. He set a team record with 4 NBA Call-Ups during the the 2012-2013 season (Dallas Mavericks: Chris Douglas Roberts, Mike James, Justin Dentmon, and Golden State: Dwayne Jones). He was responsible for hiring and managing a full coaching staff, scouting talent, and coordinating player selection, trades and free agency. As a coach, he also has the potential to create new paths for minorities in basketball and develop strong connections between his neighboring native country, Mexico, and the NBA.
His mission is simple: “To carry forward my passion of the game, competitive spirit, and will to win by coaching, mentoring, and leading a team of players. My philosophy is to develop not only great athletes, but great human beings through the game of basketball, which provides values, fundamentals, and lessons that can be used in every aspect of life.”
When Eduardo is not coaching or playing, he dedicates the majority of his free time to his family and friends. He enjoys traveling, remaining active, dining, and helping others. He was the Honorary Chairman for St. Jude’s in 2013, has hosted more than 300 basketball camps and clinics around the world. He founded The Najera League of Basketball in Mexico, which now has 30,000 boys & girls practicing the sport. He launched Eduardo Najera Foundation for Latin Achievement, participated in the basketball without borders tournament in Rio de Janiero Brazil in 2004 and Mexico in 2009. He hosted fundraising events for children of war-torn Afghanistan in conjunction with the NBA, US Fund for UNICEF and Pier 1 and has represented more than a dozen brands in and around the world.