Today, the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers partnered with longtime NBA center and Cavaliers Global Ambassador Brazilian Anderson Varejão to celebrate the official opening of the newly refurbished Beco do Nego basketball court in São Paulo, Brazil. Now vibrantly designed by Prozak and Local Studio’s artists, Beco do Nego serves as a community rallying point where basketball, art, and culture intertwine to inspire youth and help grow the love of the game.
“We are honored to officially unveil the refurbished basketball court of Beco Do Nego at Vila Madalena and welcome the community to enjoy this iconic space,” said Nic Barlage, Cleveland Cavaliers, Rock Entertainment Group, and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse CEO. “Brazil is considered one of the most important international basketball markets, and for nearly 20 years, the Cavaliers have had a strong and enduring relationship with our Brazilian fans. Today’s festivities acknowledge that legacy and celebrate the exciting road ahead as we deepen our connections and establish the Cavaliers as a leading sports brand in the country.”
The action-packed day of activities included a Jr. NBA Skills and Conditioning Clinic, a rhyming battle, and a Dunk Lab exhibition. Those in attendance included Nic Barlage, CEO of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and Rocket Entertainment Group, Anderson Varejão, Global Ambassador and Development Consultant for the Cavaliers, and executives from the Cavaliers, NBA Brazil, and the US Consulate, among others.
“Basketball is an international sport, with recognizable influences that have impacted culture and brought communities together,” said Koby Altman, President of Basketball Operations for the Cleveland Cavaliers. “Thanks to the efforts of Anderson Varejão and so many other iconic NBA players around the world, we have been able to create positive opportunities and resources to help cultivate a new generation of basketball talent. This partnership also offers a glimpse into what we feel is a great stewardship of growing the game of basketball outside the United States.”
The Cavaliers’ investment in São Paulo is the start of a renewed commitment to Brazil by the 2016 NBA Champions. The team’s long-term plan will include a series of activations to provide joy and inspiration through basketball and give Brazilian youth greater access to facilities nationwide. Immediately following the São Paulo unveiling, the Cavaliers and Varejão will host a press announcement on April 6th to kick off the renovation of two outdoor courts in Vitoria’s Clube de Regatas Saldanha das Gama. Founded in 1902, Clube de Regatas Saldanha da Gama famously sparked Varejão’s early love of basketball. During the Vitoria event, the Cavaliers will partner with the Anderson Varejão Institute to host a youth clinic with 180 athletes at the Tancredo Gymnasium.
“Words can’t express how much it means to me to be able to partner with the Cavaliers to give back to the youth of Brazil in this way,” said Varejão. “Growing up here as an aspiring young hooper, I know how important our country’s local courts are to the neighborhoods and the basketball community. My hope is that this investment in the youth of São Paulo will impact many more lives. I’m also very excited and honored to bring the Cavaliers’ next courts to my first club in my hometown of Vitoria. I look forward to developing this partnership and continuing to help grow the game.”
The Cavaliers are committed to solidifying their role as a premier sports team in Brazil through camps, partnerships, digital content, community initiatives, fan activations, and more. The team has grown its Brazilian fan base as live games have become more accessible through the NBA App. The Cavaliers have also focused on creating custom Portuguese-language content. This includes launching the @CavsInBrazil Instagram and TikTok channels last year, in partnership with the Brazilian digital agency Play9.
The team also plans to establish relationships with local corporate and marketing partners to help increase awareness and exposure of basketball in Brazil and transform lives around the globe.
Evan Dammarell is a sports journalist covering all things Cleveland right off the shores of Lake Erie. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You can also email him at [email protected] He can also be found three to five times weekly on Locked On Cavs, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network.
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