The journey of Cristiano Felicio to the NBA wasn’t a very smooth one; his story is that of hard work and determination which later paid off in his life. The Brazilian basketball player wasn’t a high flying athlete, but he is rugged, hard-working, well mannered, you wouldn’t come across him without noticing that giant smile on his face with a greeting to go with it; he is very optimistic and was determined to play professionally in the NBA, and despite all odds, he is currently living that dream.
Here is Everything You Need to Know About Cristiano Felicio
1. His Birth, and Family Members
Felicio was born in Pouso Alegre, Brazil (the same town he grew up in) on the 7th of July 1992 as Cristiano Silva Felício. He is the son of Agnelo and Maria Lucia Correia Silva Felício. He has four siblings – three sisters (Vitoria, Veronica, and Carolina) and a brother (Rafael).
2.Cristiano’s Education and Early Interest in Basketball
Basketball has always been something Cristiano Felicio loved from childhood. Between 2009 and 2012, he played for a Brazilian professional team called Minas Tenis Clube but he didn’t want his career to be localized thus, he sought for an opportunity to play in the NBA, and to achieve that he headed to Sacramento California in 2012 in search of a nontraditional school that will get him eligible for a college basketball scholarship.
And his search led him to attend CCSE Prep Academy where he sought for NCAA eligibility that will avail him the chance to attend the University of Oregon the following season (2013/14). Oregon really looked forward to having Felicio on their team, as they had lost 4 frontcourt players the previous season.
3. Return to Brazil
Luck was not on the side of the Brazilian player as he was later deemed ineligible because he had signed a professional contract with Minas Tenis Clube (which was still valid at the time) back in his home country, thus, he had to return to Brazil.
Back in Brazil, Cristiano Felicio played for C.R. Flamengo for two seasons (2013-15) but that didn’t mean he gave up on his dream of playing in the NBA. During his two seasons with the Flamengo, the team won the FIBA Americas League (2014) as well as the FIBA Intercontinental Cup.
4. NBA Career
Still determined to play in the NBA, Felicio entered for the 2015 NBA Draft, but the draft left him undrafted which was quite disappointing for the young lad. The Chicago Bulls would later sign him as an undrafted free agent after putting up an impressive performance at the Summer League.
With that opportunity, his big dream of playing professionally in the NBA was becoming more feasible just as his breakthrough would come a few weeks later when Bulls general manager Gar Forman, walked over to him just before a preseason finale against the Dallas Mavericks in Lincoln, Nebraska, informing him of their decision to keep him on the roster for the next season (2015/16).
Recalling that day, Felicio said he it was the greatest moment for him, “I didn’t cry, he said,” but I was smiling a lot, even on the bench as the game was going on.” He was first assigned to Cleveland Cavaliers’ D-League affiliate team Canton Charge, he was recalled by the Bull thirteen days later and reassigned to the same team two days later and recalled a day later.
In March 2016, he hit 6 points and recorded a season-high ten rebounds in a game against the Brooklyn Nets, which ended in a 118–102 win. 2 days after the game, he made his first career start in a game against Utah Jazz replacing injured Pau Gasol. He has remained with the Bulls ever since. As a reserve, he has averaged 3.9 rebounds,4.2 points and 13.9 minutes per game.
5. His Contract and Earning
During his first two seasons with the Bulls, he made $1.39 million. In 2017, he signed a 4-year contract with the team worth $32 million.
6. Weight, Height and Other Facts
The Chicago Bulls Centre is quite on the tall side; he stands at the height of 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) and weighs 125kg (276 Ibs).
He is one of the victims of Francis Amiteye Ngissah’s scam and abuse. He wasn’t physically or sexually abused as some of the boys at the academy were, but he suffered mental abuse. Ngissah is the founder of CCSE Preparatory Academy.
Felicio is so grateful to all those who have helped him on the journey to living his dream; his family, girlfriend, coaches, teammates among others. According to him, his mom is his number one fan.
Cristiano Felício was part of the team that represented Brazil in basketball at the 2016 Rio Olympics which held in n Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.