There's a good reason Leandro Barbosa is nicknamed "The Brazilian Blur," and it's not just because he was born in South America. To get track-star speed on the basketball court, read on and follow Leandro's expert advice
MF: How do you train for speed?
Barbosa: I work a lot on my lower body. I do a lot of exercises with the Suns trainers, and a couple special exercises that I cannot tell you because everybody will start doing them. I do the leg press and romanian deadlifts every day. I don't work really upper body, but I always work to do something, especially before the game, on the lower body.
MF: Do you do anything special before the game to prepare?
Barbosa: I come really early, like 3 O'clock to the arena, and coach (Mike) D'Antoni is always waiting for me to shoot. Maybe 45 minutes an hour of just shooting, doing a couple different exercises with the ball. Whatever coach asks me to do, I do it.
MF: Were you always one of the fastest players on the court?
Barbosa: I don't know if I was always the fastest player. I used to log run, like especially when I was a little kid and I used to play soccer without shoes, on the street, so I used to run a lot with the ball. I don't have a lot of skills with the ball, like, Stevie (Nash) has a lot of skills with the ball, but my thing is just get the ball in and score, and for me to do that I have to run. Everybody says that I have really quick feet, but I didn't know that until somebody came up to me and told me. Soccer definitely helped me get quicker feet.
MF: Do you have any advice for our readers on how they can get faster?
Barbosa: Always try to be the first one. I'm always trying to be faster than everybody in any position any time I can. I think this is my advice to younger players – just try every time to go as fast as you can. Like, try to be a competitive guy all the time and then you're doing to do something
MF: So it comes down to mentally wanting it more? Does it come down to desire and motivation?
Barbosa: Exactly. You said everything I was going to say!
MF: What other training tips do you have for our readers?
Barbosa: I wear a weighted shirt before we work out, during pre-game, almost every day. I always try to run with that, do exercises with that, walk around the locker room, and then when I take it off, I can see the difference.
MF: How's your diet?
Barbosa: I eat everything man. When I was a little kid, we didn't have very much food to eat. I was really skinny and I was anemic, so my grandmother told my mother to feed me liver and beans. I never stopped. I drink it every morning before practice, and after practice I'll drink a shake with eggs, fruits, and protein.
MF: How excited are you for the upcoming season?
Barbosa: I'm very excited. We've been practicing with a couple players I didn't know, especially Grant Hill. He's one of the keys to our team, and I'm very happy that he's on the team. Hopefully I will learn a lot of things with him. He's a real aggressive player, and he will help a lot. It's going to be an interesting season for us.