Brazilian boom in the NBA

Nene of the Washington Wizards

Getty Images

Nene of the Washington Wizards

With a recent influx of talent in the NBA, 2016 Olympic host Brazil has begun to grab a foothold in the American game. A look at the limited, yet expanding, history Brazilian-born players have in the NBA:

Rolando Ferreira (Curtiba) - On November 4, 1988, the 7-foot-1-inch center became the first of his countrymen to play in the NBA.


Anderson Varejao (Santa Teresa), Nene (Sao Carlos) - The two towering centers stand out as arguably the most successful Brazilian-born players in NBA history, still going strong with 20 years, over 11,000 points, and nearly 8,000 rebounds between them.

Leandro Barbosa (San Paulo) - The best guard to come out of Brazil and former Sixth Man of the Year Award winner, his unorthodox game still makes him a valuable role player as he enters his 30s.

Fab Melo (Juiz de Forz), Vitor Faverani (Sao Paulo) - Two centers that the size-starved Celtics hope to develop into the next generation of productive Brazilian big men like the Spurs’ Tiago Splitter.

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