There are players in the NBA who had had success in the league coming from playing overseas. Leandro Barbosa is a native of Brazil and he enjoyed a successful professional career playing in Brazil before he went to the NBA.
When Barbosa came into the NBA, he had success in the league as well. He won an NBA championship and also won a Sixth Man of the Year award.
Leandro Barbosa’s NBA career
Barbosa started playing professionally in Brazil when he was 17 years old. After spending a few years playing overseas, Barbosa decided to test the NBA waters. In the 2003 NBA draft, the Phoenix Suns selected Barbosa with the 28th overall pick.
In his rookie season, Barbosa played in 70 regular-season games, starting in 46. He averaged 7.9 points and 2.4 assists per game. Barbosa still holds the Suns record for points scored in a game by a rookie as a first-time starter with 27 points against the Chicago Bulls. He spent his first seven seasons in Phoenix and was a part of some really good teams that made deep postseason runs.
During the 2006-07 season, Barbosa averaged 18.1 points per game, which was the most points he averaged in his career. That season he won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award. Barbosa became a top player off the bench. He provided scoring coming off the bench and helped during late games when he played in Phoenix. In 2009 he scored a career-high when he dropped 41 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder. After spending seven seasons in Phoenix, Barbosa was traded to the Toronto Raptors.
Barbosa bounced around different teams, such as the Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, and he found himself playing in Phoenix again. After his second stint in Phoenix, he joined the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors were on the rise and becoming one of the top teams in the league. Barbosa joined the team at the right time.
Leandro Barbosa winning his first championship in Golden State
When Barbosa joined the Warriors during the 2014-15 season, he averaged 7.1 points per game coming off the bench. The Warriors had a loaded team. Barbosa was one player who was essential in coming off the bench, especially during the playoffs. During the 2015 NBA playoffs, he averaged 5.0 points per game.
Barbosa always played at a high-level, and his competitive nature played a part in helping the Warriors win the championship that season. The Warriors’ fans loved Barbosa, and he was well-respected by his teammates and other players around the league.
Barbosa returned to the Warriors for another season after they won the championships. The Warriors finished the 2016-17 season with the best record in NBA history at 73-9. The Warriors had a chance to repeat as NBA champions but would end up losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers. That was Barbosa’s final season with the Warriors. He played his last NBA season with the Suns during the 2016-17 season.
Leandro Barbosa returned overseas
After playing in the NBA for 14 seasons, Barbosa finished his career averaging 10.6 points, 2.1 assists, and 2.0 rebounds per game. He had the opportunity to play on some really good teams throughout his career, and he made the most of his experience in the league.
But Barbosa did not stop playing when he left the NBA. He returned to Brazil to play. At 37, he continues to be a top player in Brazil. Recently while playing for Minas Tenis Clube in Brazil, he was the league’s top score averaging 20.1 points per game.
In March, he found out that he contracted the coronavirus while he was in Brazil. According to an article from NBC Sports, he made a full recovery and is doing a lot better.