Leandro Barbosa Proud to Represent Brazil in Rio Olympics

by Tyler Emerick

Leandro Barbosa is a busy blur this summer.

After winning 73 regular season games and falling one postseason victory shy of back-to-back NBA titles with the Golden State Warriors, the Brazilian has returned to his homeland in advance of the summer games in Rio de Janeiro.

Barbosa, who made a pit stop in Phoenix to sign a multiyear deal with the Suns last week, is representing his country in the Olympics for the second time.

Brazil finished fifth at the London games in 2012, with Barbosa averaging 16.1 points per game in six contests. The country expects to compete for a medal this time around with the event on home soil.

"The responsibility is very great,” Barbosa told ThePlayoffs.com in Portuguese, “but I think all of us who wear this wonderful shirt take responsibility…

“It's a very important tournament that has a very high visibility. So it's a great satisfaction to be participating in this tournament. It's a lot of pressure but very good too.”

Barbosa is one of five NBA players on the Brazilian squad, which also includes Anderson Varejao (Warriors), Marceloa Huertas (Lakers), Nenê (Rockets) and Raul Neto (Jazz).

In a tune-up game versus Romania on Sunday, Barbosa led Brazil to a 90-45 victory with 22 points and three rebounds.

“I'm a little bit off the pace of play right now, but [health-wise] I'm very well, thank God,” Barbosa said. “The boys of the Brazilian team are doing a great job with all of us, [head coach] Ruben [Magnano] knows that the [NBA] season was very long there.”

“… I'll play the minutes I'm on the court, I will give my best and what we want is to do a great job in the Olympics and of course to win a medal.”

Brazil will be in Group B at the Olympics against Lithuania, Spain, Croatia, Argentina and Nigeria. The country begins group play on Aug. 7.


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