Mexico is a land of tradition and home to a proud people. Yet, when it comes to the sports world, Mexico has not had many sons and daughters to cheer for outside of their club soccer teams. Now, however, it looks as though a new folk hero is emerging.
Gustavo Ayon is not the first Mexican born citizen to play in the NBA. Horacio Llamas and Eduardo Najera got there first. Najera is still playing but his best days are behind him, though no matter where he plays his is a fan favorite for his energy and hustle. Therefore it is now Ayon who is now cultivating a sizable fanbase.
In his first season in the NBA, with the New Orleans Hornets, Ayon posted per 36 minutes averages of 10.6 points, 8.8 rebounds (which is beyond modest), 2.4 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.5 blocks. He started 24 games for the Hornets and in those games averaged 6.5 points, 5.7 boards, 1.6 dimes, 1.1 steals, and 0.9 blocks. Modest numbers at best, but Ayon was one of the bright spots on the team due to his hustle on the floor. To go along with those numbers he also shot 51.5 percent on field goals.
He numbers aren’t going to blow anyone away at this point in his career but if Mexico had a vote for Rookie of the Year it would have gone to Ayon. In fact, he might even be worthy of someone penning a song about him. Luckily, someone already has.
I don’t speak Spanish, but from what I gather, the people of Tepic, Mexico are proud of him. As they should be.
Hat tip to HoopsHype for finding the song.