But when Barbosa was ready for the NBA, the league was ready for him.
Barbosa moves easily between cultures and various celebrity and sporting acquaintances.
In Phoenix, Barbosa developed a close relationship with teammate Steve Nash, who is listed among Corinthians’ famosos followers, along with former presidents of Brazil, actors, and musicians. In Sao Paulo, Barbosa hangs with Sheik, who scored the deciding goal as Corinthians won the Copa Libertadores championship for the first time this year.
In the Boston area, Barbosa is starting to connect with the substantial Brazilian population.
“I know there is a big Brazilian community here,’’ Barbosa said. “I will get to know them as soon as I can.”
Barbosa has been on the move since being traded by the Suns to Toronto in 2010. Last season, the Pacers acquired Barbosa for their playoff push; they lost in the second round to Miami. Barbosa signed with the Celtics Oct. 18.
“And I am glad I decided to come here,” Barbosa said. “There are a lot of reasons for it — all the banners, a lot of good players have played here from the time of Larry Bird. And, now, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Jason Terry, Kevin Garnett — All-Stars.
“This is very important for me. I might not play many minutes, but the fact we have this group and I can learn from them. For me, it is very important to learn all I can and to have all of these players in front of me.
“And to have this coach, Doc Rivers, who was a player, and [president of basketball operations] Danny Ainge, who was a good player for the Celtics. I’m very happy to be here because of all of that.”