Given a chance to talk about the haters Sunday night, Nene didn’t take it. First he was asked about his feelings upon returning to the playoffs after two years.
“I understand the people say things they don’t know,” he said, in part. “But who can control the present is ourselves, who can control our future is only God, and that’s what we believe.”
Then he asked if he thought the Wizards had been overlooked heading into the postseason.
“Yes, yes, yes,” he replied. “They have their opinion, you know, but at the end of the day we need to do our job. … People gonna have their opinion. We need to respect, and we just need to give our best.”
These unnamed “people” could have easily been referred to as “haters,” but again, it didn’t happen. In fact, even though I thought I recalled many instances of Nene calling out the haters this season, it’s only happened three times.
1. In Brazil
Before the Wizards played the Bulls in Brazil, Nene’s home country, he said this:
“It’s going to be amazing. Very positive and a little negative because you can’t make everybody happy. You always have the haters. But I’m not mad at them. People who know [me], they know my situation. They know I was injured. But the negative, it doesn’t matter what kind of answer you give, they always going to take their own side, so save your words. Save your energy.”
2. After the regular season finale
After the Wizards beat Boston to clinch the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference, he said this:
“Haters, where you are? Now you guys need to come here and congratulate us. But it’s okay. If we didn’t have the haters, we couldn’t reach our goal, you know? I believe we can surprise if we play the right way. I believe in my teammates that we can do special things if we have each other and look to the same goal.”
3. Before the playoffs
As the Wizards prepared to fly to Chicago to meet the Bulls, he said this:
“Haters are haters. They control their mouth, or they can’t control their mouth. We can control what we can control: what we work on here, our attitude, our game. That’s something they can’t change. … We’re going to play hard with a lot of passion. And who knows the future? Only God. The haters know the past. I know the present. But the future, only God knows.”
Among reasons to root for a Wizards series win: Nene’s postgame remarks. The haters would get roasted so hard.
(Video via @Truth_About_It)