You no doubt have noticed that Rudy is wearing something a little different tonight. I'm not talking about the all red shoes (though those are nice), but another piece of apparel. Rudy is wearing the No. 10 jersey of Fernando Martin, the first Spaniard to play in the NBA. Martin, a 6-10 power forward, signed as a free agent with the Portland Trail Blazers on May 6, 1986, playing 24 games for Portland in 1986-87, recording 22 points, 28 rebounds, nine assists and seven steals in 146 minutes.
After one season with the Trail Blazers, he returned to Spain to play for Real Madrid, where he played from 1981-1986 and 1987-89. Martin made 86 appearances on the Spanish National Team, earning the silver medal in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Tragically, Martin died in a car crash on Dec. 3, 1989 at the age of 27.
Martin was enshrined in the FIBA Hall of Fame in the inaugural class on March 1, 2007
Enrique Garcia, a fan of Fernandez living in Spain, suggested the idea and Rudy thought it was a great way to honor Martin as the 20th anniversary of his death approaches.