Leandro Barbosa's tribute to his late mother

Leandro Barbosa's new sign is more than just a three-point celebration, it's a tribute to his late mother. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images).

PHOENIX — Long gone are the days of former Phoenix Suns three-point specialist Quentin Richardson pounding his headband with two fists and flashing three fingers to the crowd after knocking down a triple.

But during Tuesday night’s Game 4 victory Leandro Barbosa reintroduced the three-point celebration to Planet Orange — only when LB crosses his forearms in the shape of an X and holds up three fingers on each hand it symbolizes so much more than just three points.

“It’s a bird, a bird, a white bird,” Barbosa explained after Wednesday’s practice. “That means my mom is still around. So I was doing it for her.”

Barbosa’s mother Ivete passed away in his hometown of Sao Paolo, Brazil, on November 13, 2008, after a six-week bout with pneumonia. She was the closest person in his life and LB struggled mightily with the loss, as the two reportedly talked more than six times a day, and he also lost his father to cancer in 2005.

It’s been about a year and a half since her passing and Tuesday was the first time that Barbosa has implemented anything like this into his game since he lost her. He said Wednesday that he’d been thinking about her and the idea for the white bird came to him in his sleep.

“It came up on my mind,” he said. “I had a dream about that and for some reason I started to do it (Tuesday night).”

Whether it was because of the white bird or not, Barbosa scored 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the field and 2-for-4 marksmanship from three on Tuesday night — his highest scoring output of the playoffs and his highest total overall since April 3.

So when you see the white bird fly through the friendly confines of US Airways Center during the remainder of the playoffs, know that it isn’t just a celebration of Barbosa’s three-pointer, but rather a reminder that his late mother Ivete is still with him in spirit.

  • http://www.twitter.com/arturbm Artur Mascarenhas

    Its easy to cheer for this guy… he is awesome!

  • waris kazi

    dear president obama, lakers fans, and all those basketball "experts" who believe LA is destined for another championship. Yes, I understand that Kobe Bryant is perhaps the seond greatest player in NBA history (behind Michael Jordan) and in some respects the most talented man on the court (ie his ability to handle high pressure situations) Yes, Pao Gasol is the most talented big man in the leauge right now, and fisher, odom, and artest possess great ability on both ends of the court. However, basketball is a team sport, and teamwork wins championships, not flashy cheerleaders and humurous sponsor commercials. The Phoenix Suns play great as a team, just as Nash is able to find Jason Richardson and Stoudemire, Dragic has the ability to give wide open looks to Dudley and Frye. Many call Lopez the X-Factor of this series, his comeback was only possible because of the trust and cinfidence that his teammates and coaches put in him. WIn or lose, the Suns have shown that a trip to the Conference Finals don;t need a superstar, but a set of talented and dedicated individuals. In theory the Lakers should beat the Suns, their faults in playing defense and attacking the zone can easily be solved, but in theory bumblebee should be unable to fly. Let's just hope the Suns ride their bumblebee to then Finals, and then maybe to a NBA title.

  • http://morgamic.com/ Mike

    Barbosa gets more steals per 48 minutes played than anybody else on the team besides Goran and Dudley.

    His offense is his strongest area, so not sure what you're saying. You don't put a guy at 2 unless he knows how to score.

  • JCook

    This is sentimental and all… But he still doesn’t play defense. And is a liability on the offensive end. With that said, great hand signal celebration

  • Taylor Griffin

    the only thing that comes out of jcook’s mouth is hate. hes just jealous his team doesnt have the fastest player in the league on his bench.

  • v s

    You go, Brazilian Blur!. Beep! Beep!

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  • Z Man

    Beep beep!!!!

    What a beautiful human being. Had the honor of meeting and getting to know Barbosa at his "Brazilian Bash." That was a fund raiser for lymphoma & leukemia, as his mom died a year before from pneumonia, which resulted from her bout with lymphoma. Suns players and management were there to support him, with the lone exception of Amare. Good riddens to Amare.

    Very sad to see Leandro the Laker Killer leave our Suns. Dark days for me, the players, Alvin, and other fans.

    Gone is LB the angel. Here comes Hedo the hedonist.