We Wizards fans have a complicated relationship with Nene's relationship with Brazil, because it was his experience with the national team in 2012 that first caused him to have problems with his feet. Many of us were upset that Nene represented his country despite obvious injury issues, especially when they spilled over into the season.
But I don't think we really fully grasped the pressure Nene was under from angry fans of his home country. The Wizards' center was met with lots of boos in Saturday's preseason loss to the Bulls, as well as heavy criticism from Brazilian legend Oscar Schmidt, because he didn't play for the national team this summer. All this despite his obvious need to rest after struggling with injury.
Afterwards, he had some strong words for his critics. Via Michael Lee of the Washington Post:
"The important thing is that I'm feeling very good, I'm feeling very happy and I'm representing all of the Brazilian players playing abroad," Nene said. "Instead of celebrating this very special and unique moment, people are sticking to some very small things. We need to forget those things to be able to develop and grow. I know sometimes the truth hurts, but sometimes it's the best remedy."
Later, Lee reported that Nene was "paralyzed" with emotion and "sobbed" after the game after a whirlwind journey in his home country. All this should give us some new perspective on what Nene goes through with his country on a daily basis.