25 August, 2023
10 September
Marcelinho Huertas (BRA)
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The legendary moments of Brazil's Marcelinho

VALENCIA (Jeff Taylor's Eurovision)  - There's no denying Marcelinho Huertas is getting better with age, something he proved once again recently with an eye-popping 43 points for Lenovo Tenerife in an overtime defeat to UCAM Murcia.

As we look forward to the stars that are going to be at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, Brazil's Marcelinho is one of them.

His tally against Murcia, with 23 coming in the fourth quarter, was the highest in more than three decades for the club. In 1989, Tom Tolbert had 46 in a game. Tenerife legend Eddy Phillips had 53 in a 1986 game. Marcelinho was 13 of 25 from the floor, including two of four from deep, and 15 of 16 at the free-throw line.

Since the millennium, only Sylven Landesberg (Estudiantes, 48 points, 1028), Marlon Garnett (Estudiantes, 46 points, 2001), Vincenzo Esposito (Canary Telekom, 46 points, 2002) and Kassius Robertson (Obradoiro, 44 points, 2023) have scored more points in an ACB (Liga Endesa) game.

Marcelinho, 39, has been doing great things all season and Brazil will be counting on him to be brilliant for them, too, when they play in Group G against Spain, Iran and Cote d'Ivoire at the World Cup, the pool that was confirmed at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Draw presented by Wanda in Manila.

Those that follow Marcelinho see poetry in motion.

He's got plenty of dimes, too. No Brazilian is better at picking out teammates for easy buckets.

Now in his fourth season in the Basketball Champions League with Lenovo Tenerife, Marcelinho's 456 helpers make him the most prolific assists man in the history of the competition.

JDA Dijon's David Holston (386), Filou Oostende's Dusan Djordjevic (362) and Hapoel Holon's Joe Ragland (346) are a distant second, third and fourth, respectively.

Marcelinho is so good at distributing the basketball that opponents look dazed and confused when they try to stop him. Do they drop off and guard the man he may be passing to, or do they stick with Marcelinho, who rarely misses on drives to the hoop?

Marcelinho made Baxi Manresa pick their poison the past few weeks in their BCL Quarter-Final series.

He averaged 16 points and 7.7 assists in 29.7 minutes per game in the series as Tenerife won, 2-1.

Tenerife are now two wins away from defending the BCL title they won last season, when Marcelino was their MVP.


When it comes to his national team, Marcelinho is already in the pantheon of Brazil greats.

He helped Brazil win the FIBA AmeriCup in 2009 and was an All-Star Five Selection at the AmeriCup in 2011 when his country reached the Final to clinch a spot in the London Games. It was Brazil's first Olympic qualification since 1996.

His 95 assists in World Cup action rank No. 1 among Brazil national team players the past three decades. No other Brazil player has more than 60 in the same time frame.

Marcelinho has reached the summit on numerous occasions with his various club sides. He was a Spanish Liga Endesa (ACB) champion in 2010, 2012 and 2014, a FIBA Intercontinental Cup winner in 2020 and 2023, and a victor at last year's Basketball Champions League.

The number that's truly eye-opening is Marcelinho's age. He celebrates his 40th birthday on May 25! It's not age that matters, though, as Marcelinho keeps proving again, again and again. What matters is his combination of skill, talent, savvy, experience and smarts.

Just months away from playing at the World Cup for the fifth time in his career, here's a look at some of Marcelinho's biggest moments in FIBA ball.

2006, Saitama

Though he was still a work in progress, you couldn't take your eyes off Marcelinho in his First World Cup appearance. In Japan, the 23-year-old thrived in the full-court game, capitalizing on his pace, ball-handling, passing skills and defense.

2008, Athens

Against a legendary Greece national team that had won EuroBasket 2005 in Belgrade and stunned the USA in the Semi-Finals at the 2006 World Cup in Japan, Marcelinho showed his prowess at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament. He finished with 14 points, including nine free-throws from 10 attempts. 

2010, Istanbul

In a near upset of the USA at the World Cup, Marcelinho had eight points, five assists and four rebounds. The Americans, trying to avoid another shock defeat like the 2006 loss to Greece, got the fright of their lives but won, 70-68.

2010, Istanbul

One of the signature performances of his international career came in a heartbreaking 93-89 Round of 16 defeat to Argentina at the World Cup. Marcelinho exploded for 32 points, drilling four three-pointers and sinking all eight of his free-throws, yet he left the court in tears.

2011, Mar del Plata

Marcelinho led Brazil to their first Olympic qualification since 1996 with a stunning 19 points and seven assists in a 83-76 victory over the Dominican Republic in the Semi-Finals of the FIBA AmeriCup. In the tournament, he shot 57.1 percent from the floor and had 50 assists. 

2012, London

On his Olympic debut against Australia, Marcelinho had 15 points and 10 assists as Brazil won, 75-71. He later had 22 points and five assists against Argentina in the Quarter-Finals, but their South American rivals won the game, 82-77.

2014, Granada

At the World Cup in Spain, Marcelinho got off to a fast start and led Brazil to a 65-63 victory over a very good France team. The point guard had 16 points and five assists. 

 2016, Rio de Janeiro

Living the dream of competing at the Olympics in his own country, Marcelinho was among the star attractions for Brazil's team. The national team was the talk of the town before the tournament started.

2016, Rio de Janeiro 

Brazil got their biggest win at the Olympics against Spain, 66-65. Marcelinho finished with 11 points and seven assists as Brazil beat Spain for the second straight Summer Games.

2016, Rio de Janeiro

Before their vital game against South American rivals Argentina, Marcelinho made an appeal to fans to be remain civil. In one of the all-time classic Olympic showdowns of the modern era, Marcelinho had 14 points and three assists but fouled out and Argentina scraped a 111-107 victory after two overtimes.

2019, Nanjing

Marcelinho led Brazil to a third consecutive victory to start the World Cup in China when they went up against Montenegro. He finished with 16 points and six assists.

2021, Split

Marcelinho was the conductor of the orchestra in a rout of hosts Croatia at the 2021 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The veteran point guard had eight assists to go with his six points in the 94-67 win.

2022, Washington DC

Marcelinho had eight points as Brazil upset the USA in their nation's capital. The Brazil point guard, who had lived in the United States from 2015-2017 while playing in the NBA, also had seven assists in the 94-79 win.

Jeff Taylor

FIBA's columnists write on a wide range of topics relating to basketball that are of interest to them. The opinions they express are their own and in no way reflect those of FIBA.

FIBA takes no responsibility and gives no guarantees, warranties or representations, implied or otherwise, for the content or accuracy of the content and opinion expressed in the above article.

Jeff Taylor

Jeff Taylor

Jeff Taylor, a North Carolina native and UNC Chapel Hill graduate, has been a journalist since 1990. He started covering international basketball after moving to Europe in 1996. Jeff provides insight and opinion every week about players and teams on the old continent that are causing a buzz.