August 9, 2022

The future of Brazilian basketball has become an expert on American pop culture: movies, TV shows and even hit songs.

During his first professional season in Brazil’s top league, the then 16-year-old Santos asked his most famous teammate, former NBA Sixth Man of the Year Leandro Barbosa, what he had to do to reach the highest level of the sport. Barbosa offered a long list of advice that included working hard and being receptive to criticism, but one tidbit resonated with Santos the most: Learning English.

As he answered questions on Friday alongside fellow Golden State coaches Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Ryan Rollins at an introductory press conference at the Chase Center, Santos spoke near-fluent English – a testimony of many hours. to study American films, television and music. Looking out into the crowd, Barbosa, now a Warriors mentor-coach, felt like a proud father.

When Santos met Barbosa in the fall of 2018, his NBA dream was just that – a dream. Now, having become one of South America’s top prospects, Santos hopes to make that fantasy a reality.