MOM CHEERS ON BARBOSA
Leandro Barbosa has won a lot of admirers for his dazzling play for both the Phoenix Suns and Brazil, but there is no disputing who is number one fan is. That's his mother, Ivete Barbosa.
Ivete is in Las Vegas along with her son, whose team competed at the FIBA Americas Championship. Ivete takes her role seriously. "To be a mother is not enough," she said. "You have to participate. I'm Leandro's No.1 fan. I lost my voice because I could not stop supporting him and the team."
"I'm totally proud of him," she added to GloboEsporte.com. I thank God every day for the talent he gave to my son." Ivete has been following Leandro since 2003, when he started playing in the NBA, and she insisted that "being healthy, I'm going wherever he goes".
SUN ON THE RISE IN MEXICO
Sun Ming Ming is raising eyebrows whenever he runs onto the court for Mexican LNBP side Fuerza Regia. He is, after all, 2.40m (7ft 9in) in height - the tallest basketball player in the world.The 24- year-old Sun will also be catch the attention of those who go to watch Rush Hour 3, a movie that has recently been released. The movie stars Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, and Sun described it as "a very funny" experience.
"They needed a quite-tall man for the movie and called my agent," Sun said.
"That's all. Chris is a very funny guy and Jackie is Chinese, so I had no problems.
On the contrary, I had a great time when filming."Sun could end up in the NBA one day but for now, he is enjoying life south of the border. "Mexican people have treated me very well," Sun said. "They are good people, and I love Mexican food, especially the tacos."Sun told the LNBP's official web-site that both Mexican and Chinese cultures have some things in common.
"Both have the base in the family, in living with the parents until a certain age and battling together as a family," he said. On the court, Sun believes he is having a good experience. "The level of the league is good," he said, "quite competitive. I think I started a bit slow, but improved recently. Monterrey people are counting on me to help them reach high positions and I'm working very hard to achieve that. If we play as a team, we can do a lot of things. We have to fight all together to achieve what we want. I cannot say we'll be champions, but I can assure you we give our all to do so."
GINOBILI LANDS TOP UNICEF JOB
Manu Ginobili was appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. The Argentina guard will commit himself to "contribute with enthusiasm and his ability" to develop and cooperate with the institution's job, according to a statement released by UNICEF. Manu, who won the Olympic gold medal in 2004 and three NBA titles with the Spurs, will help in the "research of solutions to different problems that affect Argentinean children." ‘ The institution goes on to explain that the 30-year-old player was selected "because of his commitment to children, the job his own foundation has done and the development of activities to promote the good of children."
Ginobili told Argentinian TV station Todo Noticias: "One possibility was to not do it, but I said to myself 'Why not? I have to learn a lot as ambassador. I'll improve through the years and we can do very important things. I will take profits from companies that approach me so they can help this project too. Around 50% of Argentinian children are poor, so they cannot study or practise sports properly. That is one of the reasons why a lot of children cannot aim high in sports."