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Nando Gentile: The Olimpia’s Hall of Famer

26/02/2014
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Nando Gentile arrived in Milano in 1994 along the group of Trieste’s players moved by Bepi Stefanel with the coach Bogdan Tanjevic. He stayed in Milano four years: he was the team’s captain when Olimpia won the Italian title and the Italy Cup in 1995/96 losing the Korac Cup in the final (he had an unlucky relationships with the international competitions: with Caserta he lost the Cup of the Cups against Real Madrid the night Drazen Petrovic scored 62 points; with Trieste he lost the Korac Cup against Paok; with Milano he lost the same trophy twice against Alba Berlin and Efes Istanbul and then European Cup in 1998 against Zalgiris) and so missing the “Little Slam”. His history really began in Caserta and during those years he was the enemy, more or less, because Caserta twice made it to the finals only to lose to the big Dan Peterson coached teams. He took his revenge in 1991 when he led Caserta to the win in Game 5 at Forum winning in spite of the devastating knee injury that took Enzo Esposito out in the first half. That championship was the highest point in Juve Caserta’s history. Two years later, Gentile was traded to Trieste when his coach and mentor Tanjevic was already working. When Mr. Stefanel moved the Trieste’s team to Milano he followed the path and became Olimpia’s face for four years. In 1997, he had a devastating knee injury ehn the team was competing to reach the Euroleague’s Final Four in spite of losing Dejan Bodiroga and Rolando Blackman the previous summer. One year later, Stefanel with a great rally over Panathinaikos, made it to the European Cup final in Geneva, losing to Zalgiris. At the end of that season, with the team on the verge of getting dismantled, Gentile signed for Panathinaikos in Greece, where he won three league titles and the 2000 Euroleague, losing the final one year later in Paris against Maccabi. Gentile was a point guard of terrific strength, lefty, a shooter with great personality, charisma. A true leader who also won the silver medal at the 1991 European Championship in Rome. He’s the father of Alessandro and Stefano Gentile, the former an Olimpia’s captain too.