Anderson França Varejão is a Brazilian basketball player. A Cleveland Cavaliers icon, Varejão spent most of his professional time playing for this team. From Inmsersivo, Empointe’s learning platform, we bring you this Latin American Hall of Famer’s sports career.
Varejão’s nickname, The Wild Thing, is entirely accurate for him. His teammates called him that way because of his wild hair and his energetic and relentless style of play.
Anderson Varejão was born in Colatina, Brazil, on September 28, 1982. His professional career started in 1998 when he played for Franca Basquetebol Clube in Sao Paulo.
Apparently, basketball ran through Varejão’s veins. His brother Sandro was also a basketball player. Moreover, his niece, Izabel, plays college basketball for the University of Michigan.
He played for Franca for 4 years, and his great statistics boosted him to a more extraordinary league, the Liga ACB. In the first half of the 2001-02 season, he averaged 17.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game.
Between 2002 and 2004, Varejão played for FC Barcelona Básquet. Even though he did not have many appearances in the starting team, he helped Barcelona achieve their first-ever EuroLeague championship.
During the 2003-04 seasons, Varejão appeared in 27 Liga ACB games. His average was 7.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. He also played in 18 EuroLeague games, averaging 7.7 points and 5 rebounds per game.
During the second round of the 2004 NBA draft, the Orlando Magic selected Varejão. In July, they traded him, Drew Gooden, and Steven Hunter to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Varejão played for twelve seasons for the Cavaliers. During those years, his averages peaked in different seasons. He hit his appearance peaks in the 2006-07 and 2008-09 seasons, with 81 games. Besides, during the latter, he was also part of the starting team in 42 matches.
Varejão’s best season playing for the Cavaliers was undoubtedly 2012-13. He hit his career-best averages in minutes per game (36.0), rebounds (14.4), assists (3.4), steals (1.5), and points (14.1).
However, he was selected for the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2010. During that season, he hit his career-best average of blocks per game, with 1.2. He shared this award with other great players, such as Tim Duncan and Dwyane Wade.
On February 21, 2006, the Cavaliers fans attempted to break the Guinness World Record for “most people wearing wigs in a single venue”. Before the game, 20,562 fans received wigs similar to Varejão’s unique hairstyle.
However, the attempt was not successful. Even though a significant number of fans wore Varejão’s wig during a timeout as instructed, they couldn’t reach the goal. The Philadelphia Flyers hold that record nowadays. 9,315 fans wore wigs at the same time during a game.
After his long and successful career playing for the Cavaliers, Varejão signed with the Golden State Warriors. The team reached the 2016 NBA Finals during his time there, after overcoming a 3-1 series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
During those finals, the Warriors faced the Cleveland Cavaliers, Varejão’s former team. After losing the series in seven games (despite being up 3-1), the champions offered Varejão a championship ring. He declined it, as he was then playing for the opposition.
That was not the only time Varejão was offered a ring despite not having played for the champions. After being waived on February 3, 2017, the Warriors won the NBA championship in 2017 and offered the Brazilian player a ring for his contribution. This time, he accepted the offer.
In 2018, Varejão signed a 20-month contract with Flamengo. He played for them for the second half of the 2017-18 season and continued until 2018-19.
On May 4, 2021, Varejão signed a 10-day contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers after being granted a hardship exception to acquire him. Once the contract was over, he signed a second one of the same kind.
Varejão played for Brazil’s national basketball team since 2001. He won a gold medal in the Pan American Games in 2003. He also competed in every world cup between 2002 and 2019.
But not all things were positive during his National Team career. During the 2006 FIBA World Championship, Varejão committed a controversial foul at a preliminary game. He elbowed Greek point guard Nikos Zisis in the face.
While representing Brazil, Varejão got a silver medal in 2001 Nequén FIBA AmeriCup. He also got a gold medal in 2005 and 2009 for that same tournament. In 2003, his team received the gold medal in the FIBA South American Championship.
Overall, Varejão’s basketball career was very successful. He became an icon for the Cavaliers in the NBA and achieved several titles with his national team. From Inmersivo, Empointe’s learning platform, we salute and congratulate him for his perseverance and skills. Thanks for reading, see you next time!