Maciel “Ubiratan” Pereira
Maciel “Ubiratan” Pereira was a winner plain and simple. Blessed with great size and exceptional speed, Ubiratan won 16 medals in major competitions during his illustrious career. He represented his native Brazil in four Olympic Games including the 1964 Tokyo Games where he won the bronze medal leading his countrymen to a 5-2 overall record. The year before that Ubiratan led host Brazil to a gold medal at the World Championships beating such stalwarts as the United States, Yugoslavia, and the Soviet Union. Brazil was a nation of soccer enthusiasts during Ubiratan’s time and basketball barely registered in the national conscience. Still the crafty left-hander rallied his troops at every battle, anchoring the defense and inspiring a winning attitude in his teammates. He instilled fear in the opposition and was one of those rare players who gave his team whatever it needed on that particular night. Also known as “O Rey,” meaning the King, Ubiratan inspired an entire country and ruled Brazilian basketball for more than 20 years.
Gold Medal, World Championships, 1963