Nene Hilario, now simply known as Nene, is the ultimate model of consistency. Drafted by the New York Knicks in 2002 and immediately traded to the Denver Nuggets, Nene was a solid scorer and rebounder for much of his 18 seasons in the NBA. Nene played his first nine-plus seasons with the Nuggets before playing fr the Washington Wizards and the Houston Rockets.
Nene drew comparisons to Hakeem Olajuwon
Born in Brazil, Nene Hilario, who legally changed his name to Nene in 2003, grew up playing soccer, but eventually grew into a 6-foot-11, 250-pound body that became more suited for basketball. He played for the Brazilian national team in the 2001 Goodwill Games where he caught the eyes of many NBA scouts.
Many scouts likened Nene to former Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon or Seattle SuperSonics forward Shawn Kemp. Nene said he preferred to not be compared to anyone. “It’s very flattering and it’s a lot of responsibility to be compared to them,” he said in an interview after a predraft workout for the Phoenix Suns back in 2002. “But I really want to be known as Nene, which is a mix of all those.”
Nene was selected seventh overall by the New York Knicks in the 2002 NBA Draft before being sent to the Denver Nuggets in a trade. He became the first Brazilian to ever be selected in the first round of an NBA draft.
Nene’s career interrupted by injuries
Nene averaged 10.6 points and 6.2 rebounds through his first three seasons with the Denver Nuggets. In his fourth season, he appeared in just one game as he blew out his knee in a season-opening loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
He bounced back in the 2006-07 season, playing in 64 games and averaging 12.2 points and seven rebounds per contest. The following season, however, he played in just 16 games missing time due to a torn ligament in his thumb and also suffering from a bout with testicular cancer.
The next three seasons proved to be the best stretch of his career as he averaged 14.6 and 7.8 rebounds per game during the 2008-09 season. The following year, he played in all 82 games and put up 13.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per contest. In the 2010-011 season, Nene led the league in field-goal percentage, shooting .615 from the floor. He also averaged 14.5 points per game.
What is Nene’s net worth?
For a player who never made an NBA All-Star team, Nene did very well in the financial department. In 2006, the Denver Nuggets re-signed Nene to a six-year deal worth $60 million.
In 2011, Nene inked a $65 million deal with the Washington Wizards and went on to play four more very productive seasons. Those seasons were again disrupted by nagging injuries that cut into his playing time. With the Wizards, he had his best year during the 2013-14 season when he averaged 14.2 points in 53 games.
Nene then went on to sign a free-agent deal with the Houston Rockets in 2016. He spent three seasons in Houston before being part of a Clint Capela-to-the-Atlanta Hawks deal last season. The Atlanta Hawks waived him in February. Despite the injuries and the lack of all-star appearances, therichest.com lists Nene’s net worth at a whopping $81.9 million.