Nene Hilario is a story of survival and hard work. He is a Brazilian basketball player who plays in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Houston Rockets. Since making his debut in the NBA in 2002, he has fought to get a place for himself in the league after battling with injuries and also fought cancer, having the better side of both to remain the last active player from the 2002 Draft.
Nene Hilario’s Biography
Even though we all know him as Nene Hilario, it was as Maybyner Rodney Hilário that the Huston Rockets man was born on September 13, 1982, in São Carlos, Brazil. Growing up alongside his older siblings Maykon Hilario and Mayaramy Hilario, the name Nene (baby) was given to him and that was how it stuck.
Like most kids growing up in Brazil, the first love of Nene was football which he played so well that many expected that he would make a career out of it. However, taking advantage of his height and body build, he decided to become a basketball player.
After making up his mind to play the game, Nene began attending the Escola de Basquete Meneghelli in his hometown of Brazil, but he would soon stop coming only to return a few weeks later, crying with his mother. On inquiry, Nivaldo Carlos Meneghelli Junior who founded the school was told that the family could no longer pay the fees to keep Nene in school. Meneghelli allowed Nene to keep coming for free and the big kid remained there for the next seven years.
By 1999, he had already started his professional career, playing for Vasco da Gama in Brazil until 2002 when he was invited to the NBA pre-draft camp. He was selected in the draft as the 7th overall pick by the New York Knicks, making him the first Brazilian basketball player to be picked in NBA Draft’s first round.
His professional career in the NBA was not to start with the New York Knicks as he was traded to the Denver Nuggets with which he played from 2002 to 2012. Even though he had injury problems, he was given a contract of five years with the team in 2011 that was worth $67 million.
In 2008, his career was interrupted after he had a bout with testicular cancer but the tumor was surgically removed. As a very strong Christian, Nene believes that his cancer and other struggles were only tests from God. The experience has drawn him closer to God and he appreciates life some more.
Washington Wizards would be the next destination of Nene Hilario after he was traded in 2012. He played for the club until 2016 when he made another move to his present club, Houston Rockets.
Apart from playing in the NBA, Hilario also plays for the Brazilian national team. He got his first invitation in 2001 to the Goodwill Games where he helped the team to take home the bronze medal. In that same year, he played with the team at the FIBA Americas Championship, taking home the silver medal.
The parents of Nene Hilario are Jose Paulo Hilario and Carmen Hilario and they raised him together with their two other children, Maykon Hilario and Mayaramy Hilario. His mother is a retired nurse.
On February 14th, 2009, Nene Hilario got married to Lauren Prothe Hilario. The two first met at the home of his friend and manager, Alex Santos whose wife played volleyball together with the then-future Mrs. Hilario. Nene and Lauren began dating in 2007 and two years down the line, they decided to become man and wife at a ceremony that held at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Denver.
Just as Nene has his own story of survival, so also does his wife. Having suffered migraine at the left side of her head, it was later discovered that Lauren Prothe Hilario had a benign tumor in her brain, leading to a surgery that had it removed.
Nene and his wife have been blessed with a son, Mateos Hilario who was born in 2012.
Height, Weight, BodyStats
Like most other players in the NBA, Nene Hilario has a very good height and body weight. He is 6 feet 11 in (2.11 m) tall and has a weight of 250 lb (113 kg). While he has a wingspan of 7’5.5, his general body stats still remain unknown.