Thunder fans need to find something to hate about Nene

By Jenni Carlson Published: April 16, 2011
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You’re going to need to channel your inner Kendrick Perkins, Thunder fans.

The target: Nene.

On a team that has its share of colorful characters to play the bad-guy role, the Nuggets center has become Public Enemy No. 1 in the Thunder Nation. First, he went toe-to-toe and forehead-to-forehead with Perkins, then he tussled with the Thunder big man again a few days later. Now, he’s coming to town for a wild, wild Western Conference showdown.

Sure hope he’s not...

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The Nene file
• Position: Center/Forward

• Height: 6-foot-11

• Weight: 250 pounds

• Born: Sept. 13, 1982, in Sao Carlos, Brazil

• Years pro: 8

• 2010-11 averages: 14.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.0 blocks

• Career averages: 12.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 0.9 blocks

Nene was a nickname given to Maybyner Rodney Hilario, who was the youngest in his family and always hung out with a group of older kids. “Nene” means “baby” in Portuguese. He legally changed his name to it in 2003.

Plays bass guitar.

Diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2008. He missed more than two months of the 2007-08 season, but the following season, he had a career year with career-high averages in points and rebounds.

Favorite teams are soccer squads — Sao Paulo in the Brazilian league and FC Barcelona.

Does extensive charity work in his homeland of Brazil, including hosting a gospel event there for the past three summers and sponsoring more than 50 athletes in his hometown.

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