CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Cavaliers have hired Anderson Varejão as a Player Development Consultant and Global Ambassador, Cavaliers President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts. The longtime Cavaliers center and fan-favorite returns to Cleveland in a full-time capacity after retiring from a 14-year NBA playing career and will help lead the organization’s international partnership efforts. The Cavaliers will honor Varejão with a special presentation and video tribute at halftime of the Cavs vs. Milwaukee Bucks game on Saturday, January 21st.
"Andy embodies all that the city of Cleveland stands for and beyond, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring his experience, leadership and character back into the Cleveland Cavaliers family,” said Altman. “His infectious work ethic and commitment to our community have earned him his rightful place in the fabric of this organization and all of Northeast Ohio, and his impact on the game internationally will benefit our global outreach. We are thrilled to welcome Andy and his family back fulltime to the Cavaliers.”
In his new role, Varejão will engage with coaches, front office and Cavaliers players in varying on-court development roles during the season, as well as travel internationally for both basketball and corporate activities. Varejão will also assist the Cavaliers in their on-going mission to grow the game of basketball globally, including in Latin America. The organization has already launched an official team Portuguese Instagram channel called @cavsinbrasil in partnership with award-winning Brazilian digital and social media agency, Play9. The channel, which is filled with daily fresh content and game coverage, already has over 16,000 followers since launching last October.
“In Cleveland, we’ve seen first-hand the passion that fans in Brazil have for the game of basketball as they cheered on their hero, Anderson Varejão, during his incredible 14-year NBA career,” said Nic Barlage, Cleveland Cavaliers, Rock Entertainment Group and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse CEO. “As we celebrate Andy and all that he has meant to our franchise, we are committed to helping to grow the sport across the globe in an authentic and thoughtful way. Our hope is that we can organically create generations of new Cavs fans internationally that will carry on that same passion for the game that Andy brought to the court every night.”
“I am thrilled and honored once again to be a formal part of the Cavaliers family,” said Varejão. “This is a unique opportunity to start a new chapter of my life with the team I love and in the city I love. I want to thank Dan Gilbert, Koby and Nic for welcoming me and my family back to Northeast Ohio with open arms. I am truly excited to be back here where it all started and contribute to growing the game of basketball in areas that hold a meaningful place in my heart.”
During his playing days in Cleveland, Varejão was a key member of the Cavaliers back-to-back 60-win teams (66-16 in 2008-09 and 61-21 in 2009-10) and six playoff teams (2005-2010, 2015), including two Eastern Conference Finals runs (2007 and 2009) and the franchise’s first ever NBA Finals appearance during the 2007 Playoffs. Over 13 seasons with the Cavaliers, Varejão appeared in 596 regular season games (208 starts) with averages of 7.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in 24.9 minutes per contest. Nicknamed the “Wild Thing,” Varejão still ranks among the Cavaliers all-time Top 10 leaders in offensive rebounds (fourth, 1,486), defensive rebounds (seventh, 2,968), total rebounds (seventh, 4,454), games played (eighth, 596), blocks (eighth, 399) and steals (eighth, 529). He also earned NBA All-Defensive Second Team honors in 2009-10 and owns a share of the team’s single game record for rebounds with 25 boards on January 2, 2014 versus Orlando. Additionally, Varejão played in 71 playoff games with Cleveland and ranks among the Cavaliers’ all-time postseason leaders in games played (71, tied for fourth), steals (67, fourth), offensive rebounds (147, fourth), defensive rebounds (258, sixth), total rebounds (405, sixth) and blocks (39, tied for seventh).
Before entering the NBA and becoming one of only seven players in Cavaliers history with 4,000 points and 4,000 rebounds, Varejão first started playing basketball for Clube de Regatas Saldanha da Gama (Vitória-ES) during his youth. From there, he signed to play for Franca Basquete (Franca-SP), where he joined the professional team and the Brazilian National Team. He played for Franca for four years, and his stellar play elevated him to join Liga ACB in Spain, where he won multiple championships playing for F.C. Barcelona, including the Liga ACB MVP trophy in 2001-02 and their first-ever EuroLeague title in 2003. After enjoying much success internationally, Varejão was selected by the Orlando Magic with the 30th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft before being acquired by the Cavaliers in a trade on July 23, 2004.
In addition to his 13 NBA seasons in Cleveland, Varejão had a brief stint with the Golden State Warriors where he appeared in 36 games during parts of the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, as well as 17 postseason contests during the Warriors’ NBA Finals run in 2016. Following his stint with Golden State, Varejão played for Flamengo in the NBB (Novo Basquete Brasil) league in 2017-18 and 2018-19, where he was MVP of the All-Star Game (2018) and champion of the Copa Super 8 and NBB 2019 title. In 2021, Varejão made his final appearance for the Brazilian National Team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Qualifier in Croatia. He represented Brazil for over 20 years.