Longest Tenured Brazilian Players in NBA History

Basketball is not a sport that Brazil is famous for and it is nowhere near as popular as football, motor racing and MMA. However, this doesn’t mean that the country is completely devoid of all basketball. It may not have the same pull as football, but since the inception of the Brazilian Basketball Confederation in 1933 the sport has continued to grow in popularity. Today, for example, the NBA has a Brazilian fan base of 45 million people, split equally between males and females.

Indeed, the Brazilian national basketball team has had some notable success winning the world basketball championship in 1959 and 1963. Brazil has won three Olympic bronze medals in 1948, 1960 and 1964 and there was a famous victory against the USA, beating them in the Pan Am games in 1987.

Oscar Shmidt known as ‘the Holy Hand’ is considered the most famous Brazilian basketball player of all time. As a professional basketball player with a career that spanned 29 years, he is an all-time leading points scorer with 49,737, while also being the highest point scorer in Olympic Games history with 1,093 over 38 games. With such an illustrious career, it is a surprise that Oscar Schmidt did not play in the NBA, despite being close to being selected for the New Jersey Nets in 1984.

So, with such a legend as Oscar Schmidt not playing NBA, let’s take a closer look at some famous Brazilians who have had a massive impact in the most famous basketball competition in the world.

Longest Tenured Brazilians

Mybyner Rodney Hilario – Nene

Born in Sao Carlos in 1982, Mybyner Rodney Hilario changed his name to Nene because he was the youngest of his family and childhood friends. Throughout his career, he represented three NBA teams, the Denver Nuggets, Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets. Recently, he retired from the NBA having amassed 965 appearances over 18 years. He would surely have gone on to make over 1,000 appearances had it not been for a couple of injury hit seasons while at Denver Nuggets. Nene playing as a center, was named on the all-time rookie list in the 2002 – 2003 season and went on to be a top-quality consistent performer, efficient scorer and rebounder in the NBA until 2019. With a height of 6ft 11 inches (211cm) and 250 pounds (113kg) Nene’s NBA career average statistics are as follows:

  • NBA appearances: 965
  • Points per game: 11.03 (10,009 career NBA points)
  • Rebounds per game: 6.04
  • Assists per game: 1.78
  • Steals per game: 1.08
  • Blocks per game: 0.75

Leandro Barbosa

Like Nene, Leandro Barbosa was born in 1982 and is also known as ‘Leandrinho’. His career consisted of 850 NBA appearances playing for the Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors over a period of 15 seasons. Playing in the shooting or point guard position, he was also nicknamed the ‘Brazilian Blur’ due to his fast-paced offense, efficient shooting and high effort defence. One of his greatest achievements was to win an NBA championship with the Golden State Warriors when they beat Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015. In 2016, the Brazilian Blur nearly made it back-to-back NBA championship wins but the Warriors ultimately were runners up. At a height of 6ft 3 inches (190cm) and 194 pounds (88kg) Leandro Barbosa’s NBA career average statistics are as follows:

  • NBA appearances: 850
  • Points per game: 10.63 (9,035 career points)
  • Rebounds per game: 2.02
  • Assists per game: 2.09
  • Steals per game: 0.82
  • Blocks per game: 0.14

Anderson Varejao

Born in Colatina, Anderson Varejao is another famous Brazilian basketball player born in 1982. Making 631 appearances in the NBA he played for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors. These two teams battled it out at the NBA play-off finals in 2015 – 2016 season and Anderson Varejao became the first ever NBA player to represent both teams in the same season. Selected to play in the center or power forward position, his final years in the NBA were regularly disrupted by injury meaning he could have gone on to make a lot more appearances. Known for his wild hairstyle, an attempt at a Guinness world record for the most people wearing wigs in a single venue was made in his honour when over 20,000 fans were instructed to put wigs on during a timeout. Sadly, the record was not registered as an official record. At a height of 6 ft 11 inches (211cm) and 260 pounds (118kg) Anderson Varejao’s NBA career average statistics are as follows:

  • NBA appearances: 631
  • Points per game: 7.25
  • Rebounds per game: 7.18
  • Assists per game: 1.17
  • Steals per game: 0.85
  • Blocks per game: 0.65

Raul Neto

Raul Neto, also known Raulzinho was born in 1992 and is still playing NBA basketball. With 364 appearances to date Raulzinho has represented Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers and is currently playing for Washington Wizards. At a height of 6 ft 1 inches (185cm) and 180 pounds (82kg) Raul Neto’s NBA career average statistics are as follows:

  • NBA appearances: 364
  • Points per game: 5.89
  • Rebounds per game: 1.57
  • Assists per game: 2.04
  • Steals per game: 0.66
  • Blocks per game: 0.08