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(English version)

You say Sandro Gamba and you struggle to find an adjective that contains it all. He was a winning player: ten league titles in Milan, as well as two Olympics with the national team where he earned his captain’s ranks. He was a winning coach: five Italian titles, a couple of Champions cups and as many cups of the Cups on the benches in Milan (as vice), Varese, Turin and Virtus Bologna. He was a winner as a blue coach: a European title, Olympic silver, plus a continental silver and bronze. He was a winning character: it is no coincidence that the Americans entered him in the Hall of Fame, after his teacher Cesare Rubini and before Dino Meneghin. Today, at 87, he is an attentive observer of all basketball, Italian and beyond, who he judges with the same rigor as when he was on the field.

Gamba, you are among the few who have been champions on the field and on the bench: is there a quality that has been the leitmotif of a successful career lasting over forty years?

‘An iron will: when I make a decision, it is difficult to make it change.’

How would you define your career?

“An enormous satisfaction: in basketball I managed to do things unthinkable for someone to whom they would have to amputate a hand.”

Tell us..

‘History is known. For me, the day of Liberation is also the one in which I was wounded. On April 25, 1945, I was playing football near home, in via Washington in Milan, when a gunfight started (between fascists and partisans, ed) and I was hit in the hand. For doctors it was necessary to amputate. It was a captain of the American army, Elliott Van Zandt, who would later become our national team coach, to help me: he taught me some exercises, such as slapping a ball and dribbling all day, which allowed me to recover the lost sensitivity. From there I chose basketball, which also gave me a job, because in addition to playing I was the representative for Simmenthal. And to say that I wanted to be a cyclist (he was born on 3 June, world bike day, editor’s note): I won the first race at the age of 14 “.

Good staff for basketball: you was first a great player and then a great Coach:

‘I owe everything to Cesare Rubini. At 18 he took me to the first team: the rest, to follow. Then he asked me to be his deputy when I was 33 years old: I thought about it one night before accepting. Even though I understood earlier that I was destined for the bench: when I spoke, my teammates paid attention to me. Natural leadership, perhaps because I had some Scudetto and a pair of Olympics on my shoulders … “

From there came the benches of Varese, Turin, Bologna, in addition to that of the National team.

‘A pride to have led the blue team: I never expected to arrive on that bench.’

Three special teammates?

‘I speak of my first Borletti, that of 1951. Sergio Stefanini, prodigious athlete, among the best in Italy on the 400 meters, although not perfect in basketball fundamentals. Then Romanutti and Pagani. Riminucci would later arrive, formidable in character and competitive spirit “.

Three opponents to remember?

‘There are many. Among the best, Alesini and Calebotta of Virtus. Abroad, Borras and Galindez, two Puerto Rican natives who played for Real Madrid ‘.

Your ideal quintet among trained players?

‘Brunamonti in directing, Riva guard, Bisson outside, Meneghin center. As a foreigner, Bob Morse ‘.

Another memory game: the podium of your successes?

‘At the top, the tricolor play-off Milano-Virtus Bologna, on Easter Sunday 1951. I was in my first year, Rubini suddenly calls me and says to me: go on the pitch and do something. I made about ten points and some numbers, as well as a good defense, where I was better than attacking. I was voted the best player of the game. It was also the first time that my father entered the locker room: to congratulate him, he gave me a kiss. ‘

On the other two steps of the personal podium?

‘The first Champions Cup with Varese and the European gold of Nantes with the National team’.

Gamba, in the seventies a generation of coaches entered history: you, Sales, Taurisano, Guerrieri, Primo, Pentassuglia marked an era. How do you explain it?

‘The school was good. In Italy flowers of American technicians came to teach. In addition, we were all passionate about reading the technical innovations: I sent the texts directly from America. This wave began already in the sixties, when everyone began to introduce new methods, new systems: before, one played in one way, imitating Tracuzzi, in his own way, a revolutionary, because like painters, something was always invented. As well as Nikolic, who came to work in Italy, and before that Van Zandt and Jim McGregor, he also coach of the National team. It was a technical turning point, even if the secret was to have good players: without them, you won’t change anything. ‘

Many successes and an award that rewards a life in basketball: entry into the Hall of Fame.

‘The greatest satisfaction of my career. For some time people were talking about me: I didn’t really hope so much, also because there were big names at stake and the candidates were limited. Then in 2006, in the middle of the night, they called me from the United States. ‘Coach, you have been entered into the Hall of Fame’, a voice tells me. Sometimes I pass out. “Can you repeat?”, I ask. It had only happened to Rubini, whom I wanted to remember in my Springfield speech in addition to my wife Stella, it would then have happened to Meneghin: it was the last great joy that basketball gave me “.

If you were to make a report on Italian basketball in the third millennium, what have you enjoyed most in the last twenty years?

‘The organization. The fields have improved, federation and league have however given a greater order “.

What did you like least?

‘At a technical level, there is no group of coaches capable of renewing themselves. There are no longer any coaches who can’t wait to finish the championship to fly to the States to follow the clinics, which remain very useful for training: the push we had a few years ago stopped a little. “

Where is this basketball lacking?

‘In the teaching. Basketball is one of the most difficult sports to teach: seeing the games, there are coaches who leave me with some doubts. ‘


What do you mean?

‘The generations we spoke of earlier were made up of technicians who knew how to teach: they were persistent, picky. Maybe there were those who worked mainly on defense and that made a trademark. This is why there has been a qualitative leap. For a long time, maybe too long, you have not said ‘that is a team of Zorzi’, as it happened in the past, recognizing its technical footprint: most of the time, you have to ask who is training ‘.

In Nba it happens that the coaches are invited to improve the game in order not to devalue the product. By the way: do you follow overseas events?

‘I look at everything: professionals, colleges, what television offers.’

How do you see this increasingly numerous migration of our young people to American universities?

‘It is a positive fact, even if ships full of players do not leave: the talents that go to the US are few. Unfortunately so far I have not seen athletes who, after high school, have made great progress, or who, returning home, have become leaders in the championship. Those who take that road better go to a small college where they have the opportunity to play, possibly under great coaches: in my day people like Carnesecca and Ramsay were real masters’.

In the third millennium, apart from an initial blaze, we saw the National team die out: how do you explain it?

‘The reason is: we don’t produce good international players. Or rather, we have few: those who sit on the blue bench find it difficult to cover all the roles. To win something you need talent, because there are no broccoli around. Great stimuli are also needed: a player must want to win with the blue shirt, not just dress it to make a resume. It would help the whole environment: when we won medals with my national team, it was a shock for the entire Italian movement. “

Gamba, if for one day he had the power to change Italian basketball, what move would he make?

‘I speak as a coach: I would do everything to improve the players. In recent years I have not noticed much progress: in the preparation of the athletes, and consequently in the championship, nothing happens again. As an expert, it strikes me that you always play in the same way: I no longer see one on one, I don’t even see defending like Meneghin, even if Dino was unique. It also affects the technical choice of foreigners: today many strangers of modest value arrive when instead we would need those who really move, as they once said. With their class they were also the models to grow the new generations, already in looking at them the young people improved. Instead there are players who make mistakes and, after two months, they repeat them: and this, honestly, is not a good sign. “

Angelo Costa

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Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony , Springfield Ma  2006

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What’s doing Tony Giovacchini right now?
“I am currently still connected to both basketball and Italy. I am the American partner of a company in Torino called Delos. They produce a system that analyzes and trains proprioceptive control. It’s a system I was introduced to while playing in Cantu’ and used it to great personal benefit. Upon finishing my playing career, I saw the value the system and methodology could bring to the USA and I partnered with the company. We currently work with 16 NBA teams and a number of colleges as well. For me, it’s very gratifying to continue my connection with both Italy and basketball.”

Can you give us your impressions, living close to the NBA and NCAA “Basketball sistem?”
“My impressions of the NBA are those of constant amazement at the athletic gifts of the athletes. Seeing up close what these players are physically capable of on a daily basis is incredible. However, I’m more interested in the strategy behind team play and how teams to prepare for each other’s strengths and to attack their weaknesses. I watch trends closely and as pace of play has increased in the NBA and more 3 point attempts are happening every night, what are the consequences? Are the players more at risk for injury due to the faster pace, more possessions, more transition, etc.? How can teams who don’t have personnel to play this style of basketball compete? It’s always fun to continue to watch and learn.”

What do you remember about your European experience like a player?
“I have fond memories of my European player experience. I was fortunate enough to play for many different teams and thus experience life in different cities and with different teammates. Having an authentic life experience in many different regions of Italy is something my wife and I remember on a weekly basis. I also remember the passion of everyone involved. From the people involved in all the daily operations of the team, to how closely the fans followed each team, showed how much the game meant to everyone.”

What are the biggest difficulties that you have faced in a foreign country?
“The biggest challenges I faced in a foreign country evolved from year to year. In my first year, I was 22 years old and played in Avellino. At this point in time, I did not speak Italian, so the biggest challenge was the language barrier. The other challenges became how to live a daily life so far away from family and friends. I hate to admit this, but we were just at the beginning of DSL/ADSL internet speeds at this time (2002). So, I couldn’t simply FaceTime home! However, this was a blessing also, as it forced me into personal interactions and to establish real relationships in the community. This was the reason I learned the language quickly and forged real friendships with the new people around me.”

How long did it take to adjust to a different style of play?
“The playing style adjustment was also difficult. I remember in my first 2-3 seasons, concepts were being taught that seemed to be the complete opposite of what I had been taught in the USA growing up. The most challenging was the difference in the traveling rule. Next, came a few defensive concepts and offensive spacing and ball movement. What I find interesting now, is that even though many of those concepts seemed foreign and incorrect the first times I was exposed to them, I now believe they are much more effective ways to view and play the game.”

What do you think about the NCAA season?
“The NCAA season this year is interesting as it always is. Of course, I’m fascinated by Duke and the potential to have the top 3 picks in the NBA draft all as teammates. But, they are not unbeatable, as already proven. Virginia’s team reminds me very much of the collegiate teams I played on at Stanford based on their style of play and how they never seem to beat themselves. I follow the Pac-12 closely as I work with a few of their teams and played in the conference during my college years. Unfortunately, that conference is having a down season. I sincerely hope they can improve over the coming years and bring Final Four contenders back to the area. I do follow the Big 12 as well. With Kansas always being to conference power, it’s interesting to see who can step up and challenge them in conference. In the past, it’s been a number of different teams, with Baylor, West Virginia, etc. having very competitive teams. Potentially, this could be the year when Texas Tech becomes the most dangerous challenger to them. It’s been fun to see them follow-up on last year’s successful season with potentially an even better one this year.”

Anthony Giovacchini
Born in Salt Lake City, September 9, 1979 – USA Basketball player with the Italian passport. 185 cm – 82 kg , playmaker.

1998-2002 College: Stanford Cardinal
Club in Italy
2002-2003 Scandone Avellino
2003-2004 Roseto Sharks
2004-2005 RB Montecatini.
2005 Virtus Bologna
2005-2006 Viola Reggio Cal.
2006 Junior Casale
2006-2007 Fabriano Basket
2007 Basket Napoli
2007-2008 Olimpia Milano
2008-2010 Pall. Cantù
2010-2011 N.B. Brindisi
2011-2012 Veroli Basket


What is doing Chris McNealy right now?
“My wife and I have a B&B business in the Hills between Bologna and Florence. I help here with all the daily activities on running the business. Apart from that I do Tours for Groups of Americans coming on vacation in Italy. We go around to visit various Cities, Museums, Religious points of interest, Wine tasting, Gastronomic dining, Shopping Fashion, Golfing and more.
I’m also a partner in a clothing company 210 Italian Menswear. We have lines of dress clothing for tall me 2’2 meters and above. I usually travel around meeting
and serving clients which are players playing throughout Europe.”

What do you remember about your European experience?
“I mostly remember the growth as a person that I gained from living and playing in Europe. As a young American man being alone in Europe had it’s difficult and lonely times away from family and friends, however; after opening up and buying in to the new experience I discovered a place full of culture with open heart people and I was able to understand that I was living the best of both worlds. Still today I live both in Italy and USA with friends throughout Europe that I often visit.”

What are the biggest difficulties that you have faced in a foreign country?
“My first difficulties were the language and the missing of all the things that I was accustomed to back home. As a professional player the difficulties are really minor because the team usually took care of things. Now as a normal citizen I guess the bureaucracy of doing business in Italy has its difficulties.”

How long did it take to adjust to a different style of play?
“It was a difficult adjustment in the beginning. For me it was more the adjustment to the new lifestyle and expectations. Honestly it took me an entire season and I really never made the adjustment until I returned to USA and played in the NBA. Upon my return to Italy I was a more mature player and person and I knew what to expect.”

How the recruitment among American high schools and colleges have been changed in the last years?
“Players from high schools are now making decisions on if they want to attend college or take the chance of turning professional. Players in college are making decisions on whether to stay their full term of eligibility or to pursue a professional career. The recruiting has changed drastically because of the financial opportunities which has brought other people of interest into the decision making of the player.”

What are the pros for a “one and done” athlete?
“The pros are the possibilities of instant wealth. The cons are the possibility of failure and having no college education to fall back on.”

What do you think about the NCAA season?
“Very exciting basketball. It is great for players to learn how to play the game at a high level but also prepare them for their future. Balancing school studies and training and playing the game develops responsibility which players will need to know how to manage as a professional athlete or in normal day to day life.”

Christopher “Chris” McNealy (Fresno, 15 luglio 1961) NBA basketball player. Combo forward. 201 cm/100 kg.

Player career

Roosevelt High School
Santa Barbara Community College

S. Jose St. Spartans 1983-1984
Trieste 1984-1985
Albany Patroons 1985-1986
B.S. Bombardiers 1986-1987
N.Y. Knicks 1987-1988
La Crosse Catbirds 1988-1989
Aurora Desio 1989-1990
Fortitudo Bologna 1990-1993
Montecatini S.C. 1993
Santeros de Aguada 1993-1994
Montecatini S.C. 1995
Gig. de Carolina 1995-1996
Andorra 1996-1997
León 1997-1998
Siviglia 1998-1999
Granada 1999


What doing JOE BLAIR right now, inside and outside the Basketball sistem?

“I am currently the head coach of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. We are the G-League affiliate of the Houston Rockets.”

What do you remember about your European experience?

“I have nothing but great memories of my European experience. I had a chance to play with some great players, for some great coaches, in front of some of the best basketball fans in the world! Each experience and every person that I have met on that journey of my life has helped me to become the man I am today! Much wisdom and many lessons! Both on and off of the court.”

What are the biggest difficulties that you have faced in a foreign country?

“I didn’t really face a lot of difficulties. I pride myself in being able to assimilate to new cultures and experiences. If I had to choose something, it would be the food. I was vegetarian throughout my career and it’s not always easy to find places that cater to my non-meat eating needs.”

How long did it take to adjust to a different style of play?

“Basketball was the easiest part of playing in Europe. There was never a big adjustment or adjustment period for me.”

How the recruitment among American high schools and colleges have been changed in the last years?

“Recruiting is now about AAU teams and much less about what the kids are doing in high school. When I was young and being recruited, everything was about what your high school did and how you could elevate a team. Now it seems that players are packed on teams with talent and not a lot of coaching. Nothing against those that are coaching but in high school you had time to develop a system and culture around the team that AAU coaches don’t have the opportunity to foster.”

What are the pros for a “one and done” athlete?

“They are immediately provided an opportunity to provide for their family. Staying could risk injury or a plethora of other unknown obstacles.”

What do you think about the upcoming NCAA season?

“I am, and will always be, a huge University of Arizona fan! So all I can say about this NCAA season is…..Bear Down!! Go Cats!!”

Joseph Blair (born Akron, Ohio, June 12, 1974) is an American former professional basketball player, and current head coach of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA G League. Standing 2.10m (6 ft 10.75 in) tall, and weighing 120 kg (265 pounds), he spent his playing career playing at the positions of power forward and center. He was reputed for his spectacular and solid playing style.

Career information
High school
C.E. King (Houston, Texas)
Arizona (1992–1996)
NBA draft
1996 / Round: 2 / Pick: 35th overall
Selected by the Seattle SuperSonics
Playing career
Power forward / Center

Player career history
As player:
Harlem Globetrotters
Long Island Surf
Fila Biella
Scavolini Pesaro
Harlem Globetrotters
Scavolini Pesaro
Armani Jeans Milano
Spartak Primorje
Spartak Saint Petersburg

EuroLeague Regular Season MVP (2003)
All-EuroLeague Second Team (2002)

As coach:
Arizona (assistant)
Rio Grande Valley Vipers (assistant)
Rio Grande Valley Vipers


What is doing DONTE MATHIS right now?

“I’m currently still involved with international basketball in the UK, Asia but in a different capacity, I am currently the head coach at Texas Christian School in Houston TX and we have some really talented young men from all over the world.”

What do you remember about your European experience?
“My experience in Europe was one of the greatest opportunities of my lifetime. It forced me to think outside my “American box” and I was able to grow as a person and a player. I was fortunate to live in a country where the quality of life was emphasized through people’s commitment to family and friendship.”

What are the biggest difficulties that you have faced in a foreign country?
“The only difficulties I faced were probably self inflicted… Initially with trying to do things or problem solve “in an Americanized” manner. The best problem solving (on court) comes when you have everyone “bought in,” and sacrificing for each other. There were situations at times that were not optimal, but as a player, paradise is created when you win and the team does well.”

How long did it take to adjust to a different style of play?
“It takes a while, and it requires you to buy fully in….Italian basketball is in a way like chess…movements, timing and precision. Every now and then there is a foreign talent that can trump that (i.e Lynn Greer, McIntyre and the latest Mike James) but for foreigners, I believe their play has to be inspiring to where they can manipulate their talent but maintain make everyone better as well with their talent.”

How the recruitment among American high schools and colleges have been changed in the last years?
“Recruiting has changed with Coaches and University’s targeting kids at the grassroots level. Here in the states, summer competition provides the greatest exposure to potential student athletes. At some tourneys it is normal to see between 200-250 college coaches in attendance. Players try to play in the events that can provide the most exposure. For high schools, private schools and prep schools are looking to offer a more tailored sports program comparable to what colleges provide.”

What are the pros for a “one and done” athlete?
“The benefits for one and done athletes are that you can get the structure of college for a year, which can mature some young athletes and also afterwards you can learn on the job. The window for an athlete constantly closes, every athlete that can get to the league quicker…..learn and sustain while there, has a chance to change the course of the entire generation of their family.”

What do you think about the upcoming NCAA season?

“I’m very excited for this year’s collegiate season. There are so many interesting storylines with kids that have been hyped over the last few years as well as many kids from our program that have a chance to start the path for their dream. NBA basketball is great but there are too many games and it’s turned into offensive entertainment. The energy, sense of urgency and emotional level put displayed through NCAA basketball is the closest form of the sport still in it’s original, purest form.”

Donte Marcel Mathis was born in San Antonio on 13 July 1977, a US citizen with Italian citizenship by marriage, since the summer of 2005.
He attended the College in the Bobcats of TEXAS STATE from 1996 to 1999, and then began an international career full of experiences and successes.
In Italy he played in the following clubs:
2003-2004 Virtus Ragusa
2004-2006 Aironi Novara
2006 V.L. Pesaro
2006-2007 A. Costa Imola
2007-2009 Junior Casale Monferrato
2009-2011 Basketball Udine
2011-2012 Pistoia Basket 2000
2012-2013 Orlandina Capo D’Orlando



On the occasion of Davide Moretti’s second season in NCAA, the “Give & Go” section becomes international.
In fact, after the first season during which the site could count on many important contributions (Valerio Bianchini, Gianluca Basile, Antonello Riva, Mario Boni, Franco Marcelletti, Angelo Costa, Giorgio Pomponi), this year space for international basketball men.
On the occasion of the first episode 2018/2019, the site has the honor of hosting Predrag “Sasha” Danilovic, unforgettable champion of basketball today at the helm of the Basketball Federation of Serbia, who also played in the NBA and that in Virtus Bologna was a teammate of Davide’s father, Paolo Moretti.

We interviewed him by telephone, thanks to the journalist Luca Maggitti.

Sasha Danilovic, a great champion who has been able to pass from the field to the management …
«I’m President of the Serbia Basketball Federation – in December it will be 2 years – after my 15 years as a manager at Partizan Belgrade. Compared to the role I had in the club, this has a greater responsibility when dealing with the entire basketball movement: masculine, feminine, youthful. However, I must say that in some ways it is easier, because I have a staff composed of very good collaborators, whom I have known for 20 years and who do an excellent job, facilitating my task».

What did he try to be the president of the club that made him grow and then launched him to the top in the basketball world, Partizan Belgrade?
«Partizan was the reason why I came from Sarajevo. It’s part of my family. It’s a very intimate thing I would say, and it will always be like that even if I’m no longer in the club’s leadership. The emotion will always be that».

How did you experience foreign experience in Italy, at Virtus Bologna, in two stages – but always a big star – before and after the NBA experience?
«I lived it as the best years of my life. Apart from the births of my children, those are for me the best years of my life, without any doubt».

Even higher than the years in the NBA?
«Sure! The NBA is a perfect world, only I never liked American life. If I had gone to 22 years maybe I would have stayed there, but no. Instead Italy is my second country and Bologna is my second city».

So for quality of life she preferred Italy to America. And what about basketball?
«Well, it was much easier for me to play in the NBA than in Europe. I’ll explain. In NBA there are precise rules and you have your job to do. I was the shooting guard and I did not suffer doubles like in Europe, where maybe even three players mark you. In short: for me it was easier. And then I was lucky enough to play with old school athletes, people I had pictured in the posters I kept hanging in my room. However, to conclude the reasoning, Italy remains the best period of my life: both in terms of basketball and everything else».

What are the difficulties faced by a player who accepts the challenge in a different world, compared to his own life and play habits? I ask this also thinking of Davide Moretti, who has chosen to compete with NCAA basketball …
«We must not compare. I am against comparing things. When you face a new challenge, you know that the difficulties will always be there, but you must not give up».

And what is the secret to not giving up?
«Very simple: train well. I’m serious. Things must not be complicated. For example, when I arrived in Italy I had a longing for Belgrade. And how did I drive her away? Training me very well».

Said so it seems simple …
«Getting to simplicity is very complicated».

Phrase to print and frame in all gyms …
«But it is so. When I watched Maradona or Van Basten play football, I thought: hell, but I could do it too! But no, it was very complicated … only that they, with the class they had, made it seem very simple. So I repeat: to reach simplicity, the road is very complicated, but we must strive for simplicity, in life as in basketball. Because however complicated things are, in the end there is always a true answer made of a yes or a no».

Danilovic and the future?
«I do not make plans, I’ve never done them like I do not do long-term programs. I’m very happy with what I’m doing. My mandate is four years, then we will see».

We close with a tip from her to Davide Moretti, son of art of his friend and former teammate Paolo …
«To Davide I say that he must train well, do not do the phenomenon and above all listen to his father’s advice. Believe me, it’s all here. Let’s go back to the concept of simplicity: the rest does not count for anything. Train well, have a lot of courage and remember – when he meets players much bigger than him – that the ball is still round and you have to throw it inside».

Predrag “Sasha” Danilovic
Former athlete.
President of the Serbia Basketball Federation.
Gold Medal at the 1988 European Junior Championship with Yugoslavia.
Winner of the 1988/1989 Korac Cup with Partizan Belgrade.
Winner of the 1989 Yugoslavia Cup with Partizan Belgrade.
Gold Medal at the 1989 European Championship with Yugoslavia.
Gold Medal at the 1991 European Championship with Yugoslavia.
Champion of Yugoslavia 1991/1992 with Partizan Belgrade.
Winner of the Euroleague 1991/1992 with Partizan Belgrade.
Winner of the 1992 Yugoslavian Cup with Partizan Belgrade.
MVP of the Final Four of Euroleague 1992.
Campione d’Italia 1992/1993 with Virtus Bologna.
Campione d’Italia 1993/1994 with Virtus Bologna.
Campione d’Italia 1994/1995 with Virtus Bologna.
Gold Medal at the 1995 European Championship with Yugoslavia.
Silver Medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics with Yugoslavia.
Gold Medal at the 1997 European Championship with Yugoslavia.
Campione d’Italia 1997/1998 with Virtus Bologna.
Winner of the Euroleague 1997/1998 with Virtus Bologna.
Mister Europa Player of the Year 1998.
MVP of the Serie A Championship 1998.
Winner of the 1999 Italian Cup with Virtus Bologna.
Bronze Medal at the 1999 European Championship with Yugoslavia.


by Antonello Riva.

It’s been 4 years that I got away from the active side ofbasketball. Obviously I’m still following it, thanks to all my friends that are still working in it.

It’s granted, for me, have interconnections with the environment, but today I would never accept in any way, any kind of commitments with the environment. This is especially because I’m trying to pursue a project, a work related to wellness that is giving me a lot of satisfactions and first of all it gives me the freedom to manage my time as I prefer to.

I would like to give my opinion on the Italian basketball movement, that sadly, it’s falling down.
In my opinion, the first issue it’s that we are constantly saying that we have not young prospect anymore, to enter into the League A teams. I disagree, because we have a lot of interesting guys, we just lose them throughout the way, besides this, what are we doing to solve this problem? Basically nothing.

The first easy thing to do would be to engage ex professional players, in certain cases great champions, that could promote basketball in primary schools. An easy investment with great results. It’s already happened that in one year there was more applications for dance than FIP basketball (nobody knows why?).

Who is seriously investing in their youth teams? Try to make an investigation, and look for how many kids are working with strength coach or basketball coach paid from the teams, during the month of June!

Then young guys start to face tough steps, like once their youth championships are over, they would like to play into pro championships. I agree that before was easier enter into a League A team, but now, steal a spot to a foreign player, is basically impossible, unless you are a freak talent. (Even in the 4th Italian league you are allowed to play with foreign players).

We are looking for solutions, modifying structures and names of our national championships, by creating only confusion, primarily to the people on the stands :(How the second League is called? And what about the third?).

I wrote down into a paper some thoughts that came to my mindthinking about basketball, it seems as a outlet, but the premise let y’all understand how disappointed I am, watching the Italian basketball losing interest day by day. It’s true that it’s always easier criticize than propose, but I’m sure that what needs to be done to solve a small part of the problem would be easier and more productive than what we being done.

Antonello Riva
Former athete.
With the clubs, winner of the Champions Cup in Cantù (1981/1982 and 1982/1983), the Scudetto in Cantù (1980/1981), the Intercontinental Cup in Cantù (1982), the Cup of Cups in Cantù (1977/1978, 1978/1979, 1980/1981) and the Korac Cup in Milan (1992/1993).
With Italy, winner of the Gold Medal at the European Championships of France (1983) and of the Silver medal at the European Championships of Italy (1991).


by Giorgio Pomponi.

Dear Davide,

I apologize if I will write this contribution to your blog in an “unconventional” way, but I have at least two good reasons.

The first is that I haven’t the technical skills of the “Vate” Bianchini, or the field skills of Super Mario Boni, both friends who wrote so well about your adventure in NCAA.

The second is far better. Davide and I are the perfect synthesis of the incipit of a book printed in over 150 million copies and translated into over 300 languages and dialects: “all the great ones have been children, but not everyone remembers that”.
With the exception that we remember it.

Just think back to our first meeting, when you were just a year old (then for all you were Davidino) and you never had enough to play with me (our friend Luca has the filmed evidence), to the point that mom and dad did not work little to convince you to go to bed, and how much life, in its flow, has then led me to transform from an actor to a spectator of your “play”.

You were a gift to me, because if 18 years later I’m here to write something about you, it means that really, somehow, we got together, you and me.

I can not exactly tell you whether to choose to make such a radical change, leaving the place where you love (what you do) and you’re loved (for what you do, but not only), it was an Evolution or a Revolution.

Evolution and Revolution will always be a contrast between two concepts, both of which are valid in your case: because you choose to evolve to try to improve what you already knew to do at the highest levels here in Italy, and because you felt the need to make a revolution and going out of the box.

For this your courage, if I could give you a gift, I would give you the strength to never be afraid of your limits.

But you already know this, because you have chosen to improve yourself by measuring yourself with the best.

They will tell you, because life is this, what you will have to do to overcome the trials that you have set before the path, I will tell you one, that I feel true: whatever you do, the point is the passion!

A passion that goes well with the color of the Texas Tech shirt and with the name “Red Raiders”; I see you well in the shoes of the Italian Red Raider!

I close this letter with the description of my moment: while from the sofa at home I wrote this letter a ray of sun hit my eyes reflecting on the cover of a book, and since I believe in the signs I got up to see which book was…: “Like Kobe – The mamba explained to my children”.

Wow, what a sign. Then the wish is: be the Kobe of yourself!

A big hug, Davide.

Giorgio Pomponi
Communication Manager “LBF – Italian Women’s Basketball League”


by Franco Marcelletti.

I have been back for two years to training in the youth sector of the Verona Tezenis because I liked the idea of helping to grow some young talent from Verona.

Many were the differences that immediately struck me. First of all, a predilection to keep the groups together for a long time, when the first porpoise must be to make the talents grow, and immediately, I remember when Paolo Moretti came back into my mind.

The year was 1986 and in Roseto there were the national finals Juniores (the current U18) and the year of birth was 1967. In the Mens Sana Siena, coached by a teacher like Luca Finetti, Paolo played that was ’70, three years younger, and already made the difference.

With today’s regulations it would not have been possible!

We find ourselves today with a lack of production of Italian players as a number and quality, so almost all the best are children of former players: Gallinari, Gentile, Sacchetti, Cinciarini, Pascolo, Della Valle, Tonut, Alibegovic, Laganà, and the same Davide Moretti.

It seems almost as though their families have been the guest house and their coaching fathers, and it has often happened.

Since the advent of the Bosman law, the recruitment of companies is limited to a provincial context, at most regional. When companies lack an economic return, investing in the youth sector is a noble exception that concerns few companies.

This leads to a level of comparison between the lower and less educational players.

Or they are looking for foreigners to whom they can offer the four years of training.

Talking about Davide in the NCAA, so for me, it’s like talking about the Italian brain drain abroad that our country, our basketball, could not hold back.

What the Moretti has in common is courage.

Paolo was one of the first Italians in 96 ‘to go to Greece. It was a courageous and risky choice to question oneself in a new and particular environment like the Hellenic one.

Davide has left a really comfort zone in Legadue championship, and a probable change in Serie A, to live a new experience.

The technical work to become a real point guard and the physical one to face a very competitive conference, I’m sure we will deliver an important player for Italian basketball, which we greatly need.

And as Peter Gabriel sang, “Don’t give up, I know you can make it good”.

Francesco “Franco” Marcelletti
Coach Italian League winner in Caserta (1990/1991) and Italian Cup winner in Caserta (1988).
Promoted in Serie A with Verona (1992/1993).
Best coach of Serie A with Verona (1993/1994).


by Gianluca Basile.

Dear Davide, you chose to go to Texas and play in the NCAA, so I want to tell you about how it went to me, when I chose to leave Italy to get to Spain.

Choosing to leave Fortitudo Bologna for Barcelona was not easy at all. After the 2005 Italy title, Zoran Savic asked me to follow him to Barça. The decision was tough, because at that moment I was at the peak of my career, Captain and symbol of Fortitudo. And then the proverb says: never leave the old road for a new one, even if the desire to raise the bar was so big.

I knew perfectly what I was going through and the difficulties I would have had to insert myself in a totally different context, but as I have a hard head, I really wanted to try. Since I started from Ruvo di Puglia, I have always set goals. In small steps, I wanted to get to the top and the Barça saw it as the last step. Today I can say that it was worth it.

Before making the final decision I heard all the opinions of my family, to understand their thinking. Finally I spoke not my wife, to understand if it was appropriate to do this insanity, since we had bought a house in Bologna and she was 4 months pregnant and with 2 girls of 6 and 2 years. So I can say that it was the most difficult decision of my life.

Chapter language. English I chewed him little or nothing, but Spanish is very similar to Italian and so I have not had any particular difficulties. Then the fact that Marconato came with me helped me and I found Fucka at the Barça…so, in a month I understood everything and I managed to make myself understood.

As for the language, well it went also with regard to life. The pace was like the one I had in Puglia: the Catalans take it very calmly, a bit like us in Southern Italy.

I was also good for the food, since in Barcelona there was everything, even if we have only frequented Italian restaurants.

The hardest thing was to adapt myself to the coach, to get used to the method and the superhuman loads of work he had. But when I signed up I knew perfectly what I was going to meet. It’s just a matter of mentality: work always pays.

In fact, I took away so many satisfactions: I won practically everything that could be won, even if the greatest satisfaction has been able to stay in that club for 6 years. It is not easy to stay in those teams for a long time, then I was not so young (I stayed there from 30 to 36 years), but I had created a good relationship with the whole environment. When they told me that I was no longer part of their project, I cried.

If I think back, only the first 3 months have been difficult. I had even told Savic that I wanted to go back to Italy. Fortunately, he did not listen to me!

Ultimately, I would say that it was a wonderful choice for me and my whole family, as well as a very important stage of my life.

I wish everyone to have an experience like mine, which marks you positive for life.

So, dear Davide, I can only send you my sincerest “good luck”, wishing you the best.

Gianluca Basile

Euroleague winner with Barcelona (2009/2010).
2 times winner of the Italian Championship with Fortitudo Bologna (1999/2000, 2004/2005).
2 times winner of the Spanish Championship with Barcelona (2008/2009, 2010/2011).
3 times Copa del Rey winner with Barcelona (2006/2007, 2009/2010, 2010/2011).
2 times winner of the Spanish Super Cup with Barcelona (2009, 2010).

MVP of the Italian Championship 2003/2004.
MVP of the 2004/2005 Scudetto Finals.

Gold Medal at the 1999 European Championship of France.
Silver Medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Silver Medal at the Mediterranean Games of 1997.
Bronze Medal at the 2003 European Championship of Sweden.