Brazil on NBA's exhibition radar

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:51 PM ET

TORONTO - The words uttered by NBA commissioner David Stern were music to Leandro Barbosa’s ears, a declaration that resonated in the shooting guard’s native land.

Under Stern’s watch, the NBA game has gone global, a reach that will involve a first this season when the Raptors and New Jersey Nets play a regular-season game in London.

But what has Barbosa excited is the prospect of the league staging exhibition games in Brazil.

“It will be a huge success,’’ the Brazilian Blur said. “The economy in Brazil is strong and getting stronger. There is a lot of interest in basketball and there are many leagues.”

Whether it’s prior to Brazil hosting soccer’s World Cup in 2014 or the nation staging the 2016 Olympics, basketball will be showcased prior to one of those international showcases.

Whether the Raptors will ever be involved is something that can’t be answered.

Barbosa has two years left on his deal, but he still has plenty of game left and would love to be part of the NBA’s foray into his country.

Currently, there are four players from Brazil who play in the NBA — Barbosa, Tiago Splitter (San Antonio), Nene (Denver) and Anderson Varejao (Cleveland).

The Brazilian Bust, better known as Rafael Arajuo, was taken eighth overall by the Raptors in the 2004 draft.

Arajuo was last seen playing pro hoops in Brazil.


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