Leandro Barbosa had lofty objectives for 2020. After taking part in 14 seasons in the N.B.A., Barbosa had hoped to make yet one more journey to the Olympics with Brazil’s nationwide basketball crew — his third — at age 37.
In these coronavirus occasions, Barbosa, like so many others, needed to abruptly modify his want listing. Actually seeing his child daughter and holding her grew to become his precedence.
While taking part in for Minas Tênis Clube in Brazil as the league’s high scorer at 20.1 factors per sport, Barbosa discovered on March 21 that he had examined constructive for Covid-19 two days earlier in Belo Horizonte. Talita Rocca, his spouse, was 38 weeks pregnant and resulting from give start on March 26 in Brazil’s largest metropolis, São Paulo, the place the couple stay full time.
Amid soon-to-be-confirmed fears that Rocca, a mannequin, had additionally contracted the virus, her medical doctors determined, for the child’s security, that labor could be induced instantly — with Barbosa barred from the hospital. Rocca’s mom, Geli, took Barbosa’s place in the supply room. He watched as a lot of the March 22 start of Isabela Rocca Barbosa as doable on FaceTime.
“I didn’t know what to do,” Barbosa mentioned. “All I did is simply discuss on the telephone: ‘Listen, you’re going to need to do it by your self.’ I informed my spouse, ‘Think on the baby, not on me.’
“We’re all good now. We’re wholesome. The child didn’t have the virus and thanks, God.”
Barbosa, who received a championship with Golden State in 2015 and final performed in the N.B.A. with Phoenix in 2016-17, spent the first two weeks of Isabela’s life quarantined away from her and his spouse. He mentioned he was nonetheless working by how a lot the episode shook him.
“That night was the worst night of my life,” Barbosa mentioned, referring to March 17, when coronavirus signs hit him the hardest after a night follow along with his crew.
Minas performed its final sport on March 14, securing a highway win over Corinthians inside a steamy area in a sport with out followers, with Barbosa managing simply 10 factors in situations that he mentioned left him dehydrated. Before tipoff, he had lobbied crew officers to push for the league, Novo Basquete Brasil, to droop play. Minas’s March 16 sport towards Pinheiros was certainly postponed, however he started affected by a blast of ache at “a point in the middle of the head” the subsequent day. The discomfort led Barbosa to concern the worst.
“Really, I felt that I was going to die, my man,” Barbosa mentioned. “I was having a crazy fever. My head was extremely bad. My nose felt like it was closed, but it wasn’t closed. I was feeling a lot of pain in my back — I couldn’t find a position to lay down.”
Barbosa added: “I had fever before. I had pain in my head before. I had pain in my whole body when I was sick, but nothing similar to that. Whatever I get, I always fight through. That’s just something I learned when I got to the N.B.A. But that night was something; it was tough to fight. Because it was different.”
Adding to the stress, Barbosa mentioned, was the refusal of the crew’s medical workers to deal with him at his dwelling in concern of contracting the virus. Barbosa credited the household’s driver, Fabiano da Silva, for nursing him by the first evening and driving him six hours from Belo Horizonte to São Paulo after it was confirmed he had the virus and air journey was now not doable.
After issues about her personal respiratory and platelet depend throughout supply, Rocca needed to wait till the day after start earlier than she was allowed to take Isabela in her arms. Barbosa was instructed to isolate for 2 weeks as soon as he arrived in São Paulo, however his brother Marcelo insisted that Leandro stick with him. The brothers are shut after they spent appreciable time collectively in the United States throughout Leandro’s N.B.A. profession.
“He wouldn’t let me be alone,” Leandro Barbosa mentioned. “I said, ‘What if you get it?’ He said: ‘I don’t care. Then we’ll both have it.’”
He added: “Talita’s mother didn’t get the corona. My brother didn’t get the corona. My driver didn’t get the corona. Just me and my wife, man. Can you believe that?”
Barbosa, who has two kids from a earlier marriage, was not anticipating such a making an attempt begin to constructing a household with Rocca. They have been married final July, and he signed with Minas in December, figuring a powerful season in the N.B.B. would function ample preparation for an Olympic qualifying event in June.
Brazil was initially scheduled to affix Germany, Mexico, Russia, Tunisia and the host, Croatia, in a six-team playoff for certainly one of the 4 remaining berths in the 12-nation males’s Olympic basketball area for Tokyo. Those Olympics have been postponed for a 12 months, till July 2021, leaving him with a brand new basketball purpose: He continues to induce the Brazilian league to cancel the remainder of its season.
Minas’s sport on March 14 was the league’s second to final earlier than play was suspended. Barbosa has been crucial of the league for not shutting issues down earlier — “They were the last sport in Brazil to stop,” he mentioned — and he questioned the knowledge of planning to restart when “everything is shut down over here.”
“I would have loved to come back,” Barbosa mentioned. “The reason why is because I think we have the potential to win the championship. But I got the virus. I know how it is. It’s impossible to have the league continue. Right now, it’s not about the business. It’s about our health.”