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Jaime Jaquez Jr.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. honors Mexican roots at Slam Dunk Contest

Jaime Jaquez Jr. jumps over Shaq for windmill dunk

Jaime Jaquez Jr. carried his Mexican roots proudly through the air Saturday night in Indianapolis. He soared during the NBA All-Star Game’s Slam Dunk Contest with a tribute to his people and the Mexicans who came before him in the NBA. 

The Mexican flag displayed inside the paint for all the world to see at Lucas Oil Stadium. The area between the free throw line and the basket displayed the green, white and red with the eagle atop a cactus in the middle on the LED glass court.

The judges were a tad rough on the Miami Heat rookie. History will judge Jaime Jaquez Jr. well, though, especially in the Latino community. Two years after Juan Toscano-Anderson soared at the Slam Dunk Contest with Mexican flag-themed Nikes, the bi-cultural Mexican American Jaquez also honored Mexico.

Jaquez had the Mexican flag shown on the LED glass court. The surnames of the Mexicans who came before him in the NBA also were displayed inside the paint during Jaquez’s dunks.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. shines light on Mexican history

Jaquez honored Horacio Llamas, Eduardo Najera, Gustavo Ayón, and Toscano-Anderson.

“Shout out to triple J,” Toscano-Anderson wrote on the social media platform X. “Continuing to carry the torch. We just tryna pave a way for our ppl to come shake up & be apart of the business.”

Toscano-Anderson finished second during the 2022 AT&T Slam Dunk Contest. He wore red, white and green lettering on “Toscano” and No. 95 on the back of his Golden State Warriors jersey during the 2022 contest. 

In that contest, Toscano’s Nike sneakers had the Mexican flag’s iconic eagle between the Nike swoosh in the middle of the red, white and green. Two years later, Jaquez put Mexico’s colors on the court. 

‘Showing love’

“I think it was all about showing love to the people who came before me,” Jaquez told the Miami Herald.  “As you guys saw, all the Mexicans who ever played in the NBA were shown.”

Llamas, a 6-foot-11 center from El Rosario, played 28 games in the NBA over two seasons. He became the first Mexican-born player in NBA history when he debuted with the Phoenix Suns on March 2, 1997. Najera, a 6-foot-8 forward from Meoqui, played 619 games over 12 NBA seasons.

Ayón, a 6-foot-8 forward from Tepic, played 135 games over parts of three seasons. Toscano-Anderson is in his fifth season in the NBA. He began with the Warriors in 2020, winning a title in 2022. Toscano-Anderson is now with the Sacramento Kings.


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Like Jaquez, Toscano-Anderson was born in the United States. In Toscano-Anderson’s case, he’s the son of a Mexican American mom and an African-American father. He was raised in Oakland. 

Mark Aguirre, the first overall pick in the 1981 draft, also has Mexican roots. He was more identified with his African American roots. The two-time NBA champion and three-time All-Star was born and raised in Chicago. Unlike Jaquez, though, Aguirre never represented Mexico internationally.

Jaquez, who was born and raised in Camarillo, Calif., and Toscano-Anderson have represented Mexico internationally.

Full circle

Jaquez, the 2023 Pac-12 Player of the Year, is having an excellent rookie season. He was drafted 18th overall by the Heat in the 2023 NBA draft, becoming the first former Mexican national team player picked in the first round.  

Jaquez, who turns 23 years old today, has been the Rookie of the Month twice already. Moreover, he is a crowd favorite in Miami, which has a large Latino fan base. He honored the Heats’ Latino fans with an “El Heat Cultura” (Heat Culture) jersey during the Slam Dunk contest.

“Heat culture is obviously big, so I put a little Spanish twist on it,” Jaquez told the Herald. “Just trying to have fun.”

Jaquez didn’t advance beyond the first round, but he had two memorable dunks. He had a monstrous windmill dunk over his childhood hero Shaquille O’Neal.

That dunk brought the former UCLA star back to his Southern California roots. It was a nod to the video his mother Angela shot of a young Jaimito jumping from a chair to dunk on a plastic, miniature rim.

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