Toronto Raptors guard Leandro Barbosa has admitted the fatigue factor might come into play in this week’s trans-Atlantic tour.

The league’s only Canadian franchise – fresh off a 96-90 win over New Orleans – arrived in London on Wednesday morning to get acclimatised ahead of Friday’s encounter with the New Jersey Nets at The 02 Arena.

With a further game on Saturday, it promises to be a gruelling trip for the two sides who are in the midst of a long-shot struggle to reach the play-offs. And the Brazilian star concedes it is a trip into the unknown.

“The back-to-back is not a problem, we are used to that,” Barbosa said. “There is a few hours time difference which will be difficult. But it is exciting too, to come and play in a different country.”

Extra-curricular activities, by team orders, will be kept to a minimum, although there are NBA Cares clinics to attend and the odd spot of sight-seeing. New city, new experience, says the shooting guard.

“It will be the first time,” he said. “I’ve never been before but I’ve heard many good things about the city and the people. I’m a big soccer fan too which I know is big in England.

“My team is Corinthians but I like English soccer too. I always watch Manchester City and Manchester United. I like Ronaldo, we speak the same language and I cheer for him. He is a great player.”

Barbosa, who grew up in the slums of San Paolo before making his fortune in the NBA, is set to extend his British experience this team when GB meet Brazil in a friendly in Rio in August.

However he has trained his sights in a return encounter in London next year.

“We have a tournament to qualify in the summer,” he said. “I want to go to the Olympics, it would be a dream to play.”

Nets land, straight to work

The New Jersey Nets went straight to practice on Wednesday morning after they landed in Britain.


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