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Nets life-saving assistant trainer started out wanting to be soccer player

Brooklyn Nets

Ale Oliveira is the Nets assistant trainer ... and along with Lloyd Beckett, the Nets director of rehab therapy ... the NBA's assistant trainer of the year. The two were honored for their work this year, and particularly the life saving effort they and Tim Walsh performed on Jim Sann, the Nets assistant coach, after he suffered a heart attack at the Nets training facility February 1.

That's not how Oliveira thought his career in professional sports would work out when he was a kid on the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil, as reported by ESPN Brazil.  Oliveira thought he was going to play professional soccer!

"As any young kid I wanted to be a professional football player. I played for Palmeiras with many players that ended up professional players.  When I felt that I wouldn’t be good player I decided to stop."

Among those who he counted as teammates was Vagner Love, one of top scorers on soccer's international circuit over the past decade and a member of Brazil's national team.

Once he made the decision, that playing wouldn't be his ticket to sports big time, Oliveira decided to learn Physical Therapy, but stayed connected to football. Thanks to the sport, he was granted a scholarship to continue his studies on the US, getting a bachelor's degree at Carson-Newman in Tennessee, then a masters at Georgia State, ultimately  finding his way to the Atlanta Hawks and finally the Brooklyn Nets.

Is the football bug gone? No.

"I always had the dream of returning to Brazil to work in a great football team. An even bigger dream would act in the Brazilian national team or maybe in a European team. I am very happy in the NBA, but it would be something special, because we grew up watching and playing football, " he said.