Former NBA player Leandro Barbosa, pregnant wife, both test positive for coronavirus

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
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Leandro Barbosa, who played 14 seasons in the NBA, was Sixth Man of the Year once and won a ring with the Warriors, is back home in Brazil playing there, where at age 37 he leads the league in scoring.

It’s there that he had a real scare with COVID-19 — not only did he have it, so did his pregnant wife, Talita Rocca. Barbosa shared his story with Marc Stein of the New York Times.

While playing for Minas Tênis Clube in Brazil as the league’s top scorer at 20.1 points per game, Barbosa learned on March 21 that he had tested positive for Covid-19 two days earlier in Belo Horizonte. Talita Rocca, his wife, was 38 weeks pregnant and due to give birth on March 26 in Brazil’s largest city, São Paulo, where the couple live full time.

Amid soon-to-be-confirmed fears that Rocca, a model, had also contracted the virus, her doctors decided, for the baby’s safety, that labor would be induced immediately — with Barbosa barred from the hospital. Rocca’s mother, Geli, took Barbosa’s place in the delivery room. He watched as much of the March 22 birth of Isabela Rocca Barbosa as possible on FaceTime.

“I didn’t know what to do,” Barbosa said. “All I did is just talk on the phone: ‘Listen, you’re going to have to do it by yourself.’ I told my wife, ‘Think on the baby, not on me.’

“We’re all good now. We’re healthy. The baby didn’t have the virus and thank you, God.”

Barbosa is not older or with a pre-existing condition, yet he got a severe case of the disease with headaches, shortness of breath, body aches, and more. It was his brother — not team doctors, who feared getting the disease and didn’t want to treat him at his house — who got Barbosa through this.

Fortunately, he and his family got through this and are healthy.

Brazil has seen more than 67,000 people test positive for Coronavirus and had more than 4,600 deaths, and those numbers are considered to be low because of a lack of testing. Cases in Brazil are just starting to spike and some experts believe it is the next global hotspot for the disease. Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has not called for stay-at-home orders or other restrictions, insisting the disease is just a “little flu” and not that serious.