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Nene booed by fans in his native Brazil

Oct 14, 2013, 10:14 AM EDT

Chicago Bulls v Washington Wizards - NBA Global Games Rio 2013 Getty Images

Nene does a lot for his native Brazil. He goes back every summer and donates both money and his time to charitable causes, when he retires he said he plans to return and work at a church down there.

But what he doesn’t do much is play for the Brazilian national team. He did it a couple times since he came to the NBA 11 years ago — including the 2012 Olympics in London, where he aggravated his plantar fasciitis, which lingered through last NBA season — but he’s had issues with the politics of the team as well as with the level of insurance covering the players.

When he returned with the Wizards for a game in Brazil, his country mates let them know he was frustrated — Nene got booed.

The Washington Post talked to Brazilian basketball legend and Hall of Famer Oscar Schmidt about it — and Schmidt sided with the fans (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

“That’s not my fault,” Schmidt said when asked about Nene’s reception. “Everybody knows what he’s done. If you don’t want to play for national team, don’t talk about your country. Ever.”

Okay then.

Nene didn’t seem bothered.

“I don’t have to defend myself because I didn’t steal, I didn’t kill and I didn’t rob.

“Sometimes people try to create a bad situation when one doesn’t exist, but I know everything was the best that could be done,” Nene continued, speaking through a Portuguese interpreter. “I’m here as an example. I know I’m a role model to many people. What I was able to conquer, the people can’t take away from me. That’s one of the reasons basketball has a problem developing in Brazil, but I’m sure that in the future it will be able to grow.”

What can we take away from this? Fans everywhere can show crazed nationalism and expect players to do anything to play for their country when most of those same people would do the exact same thing the player would in those shoes.

By the way, the Wizards lost the game to the Bulls 83-81. Derrick Rose did not play, which frustrated some Brazilian fans.

  1. casualcommenter - Oct 14, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Disagreed with Schmidt. As the article mentions, Nene JUST played for the Brazilian national team last year despite dealing with plantar fasciitis at the time. He’s been hampered by injury since then, so even if there weren’t political/insurance issues with the Brazilian national team, Nene wouldn’t be able to play in FIBA events.

    I can perhaps understand not cheering him, but booing him is indefensible. He’s risking career-ending injury every time he plays for the national team, and the fact that he’s “only” done it a few times doesn’t change the fact that he’s done it. If playing on an outmatched Olympic team while dealing with severe foot pain doesn’t earn him any respect from fans, Nene should seriously consider sitting out future Olympics.

  2. 00maltliquor - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Oscar Schmidt’s a chump.

  3. freudnumb - Oct 14, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    After what happened to Yao Ming’s career, I would have to stand on Nene’s side. With all due respect to international basketball, I would rather see the players compete at a high level for extra years in the NBA.

  4. misremembered72 - Oct 14, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    as happy as i was dwight howard got booed, this is the opposite side of the spectrum

  5. tmdill18 - Oct 14, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    Oscar Schmidt couldn’t guard my grandma, but yet he tells everyone that he would have been one of the best NBA players ever. They beat some US collegians when he was playing, so he thinks that makes him a legend. He was and is a joke.

  6. mackcarrington - Oct 14, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    We Americans can’t imagine if one of the best players in our country went and spent his entire career in say, Europe,
    and only came back when it was time for the Olympics and wanted to represent the USA.

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