As both teams crossed paths during Tuesday morning shootaround at Verizon Center, Milwaukee Bucks guard Greivis Vasquez took a minute to greet David Adkins, an assistant coach for the Wizards.
He didn't see Nene, but the 7-foot Brazilian has everything to do with Vasquez, who starred at Montrose Christian where Adkins coached and then the University of Maryland before being a first-round 2010 draft pick.
Vasquez, then about 14 years old in his native Venezuela, went to Nene's country, Brazil, for Basketball Without Borders which is a global outreach program sponsored by the NBA and FIBA to spread the popularity of the game. Nene,33, was with the Denver Nuggets at the time and has trouble recalling any details because it was so long ago.
"He probably was the first NBA player I met," said Vasquez, who came to the U.S. to play at Montrose Christian in Rockville, Md., for high school where he was a teammate of Kevin Durant "He was hosting. I knew I was going to be a basketball player. I didn't know I was going to be in the NBA at that time."
Vasquez already is playing for his fifth NBA team. Coming off the bench, he's averaging 7.4 points and 5.0 assists for Milwaukee.
His affinity for what Nene did for him means a lot.
"He's one of those guys that started the movement of Latinos, Hispanics, South American people," Vasquez said. "He opened the door for us to come to the NBA."