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Olimpia’s history is well represented in the Springfield Hall of Fame too

10/05/2020
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The sixth will be Mike D’Antoni, who turned 69 last Friday and having been a two-time coach of the year in the NBA, will have no problem at some point in being admitted to the Springfield Basketball Hall of Fame. He will be the sixth, because Olimpia is currently represented by five personalities who have been already admitted. These are Cesare Rubini, Sandro Gamba, Dino Meneghin, Bill Bradley and Bob McAdoo.

Bill Bradley – He was the first admitted, in 1983 (presented by Jerry Lucas, his teammate at the Knicks and an Olympic gold medal in Rome), as a player. Bradley was the only player with Manu Ginobili who has been able to win the Olympics, the EuroLeague and the NBA championship. The latter twice, with the New York Knicks in 1970 and 1973. He won the Olympics in 1964 and the equivalent of the EuroLeague in 1966 with Simmenthal, with whom he played only in the european competition and had a record of 42 points scored in one game. His number 24 was retired by the Knicks. “My father was not a sports fan, he did something else – he said in his speech – so when I finished school and decided to play professionally, he asked me was when I would really start working. My career began when I was 13 years old, practicing all day, realizing that if I hadn’t practiced myself someone else would have done it.”

Cesare Rubini – He was admitted in 1994, eleven years after Bradley, a player that he coached at Simmenthal. He was the first Italian to receive the honor because of his incredible resumè, 10 league championships and three international cups won. Plus, what he won as a manager, including the 1980 Olympic silver medal and the 1983 European gold with the national team supporting his pupil Sandro Gamba, who was the translator at the Springfield induction ceremony. “Basketball for me was a lifestyle, a way of socialization for a boy born on the Port of Trieste, who discovered basketball at 20 years of age, thanks to American soldiers,” he said. Rubini is also a member of the Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale for his Olympic gold in water polo in London in 1948.

Bob McAdoo – He was admitted in 2000, introduced by Jack Ramsay, his first NBA coach in Buffalo, when he was the NBA top scorer and also won the MVP award. McAdoo then won two NBA championships the Lakers and two European titles in Milan. “My journey started in Greensboro in North Carolina with the discipline instilled by my parents, my mother who played at the college level and my father who led me in my first steps – said McAdoo – After the years in the NBA, my career continued for six years in Italy, the first four in Milan and I had as much fun as I had when I was in the NBA “.

Dino Meneghin – In 2002 Dino Meneghin also entered the Hall of Fame. The rule is that the presentation must be made by a member of the Hall. Meneghin was accompanied by Dan Peterson with whom he wrote the speech but was introduced by Bob McAdoo who, telling of his accomplishments to an American audience, said that “winning the European title is difficult exactly like winning an NBA title and he has won seven” . “To those who have not seen me play, I say that I have always been a team player, the statistics have never meant anything to me – Meneghin said during the ceremony – the only number I know is 11, the operations to which I underwent to repair various injuries. But I wasn’t the tallest or the most athletic center, so I had to work, play and compete harder.”

Sandro Gamba – He was elected in 2006, in the wake of four international medals conquered as the Italian National Team coach, then the wins in Italy and Europe both as a coach of Varese and as an assistant coach of Cesare Rubini in Milan. And he also won 10 Italian championships as a player for Olimpia. The legendary Italian American coach of St. John’s and the Nets, Lou Carnesecca, was his presenter. “On April 25, 1945 – Gamba said -, I was 12-year old. It was the last day of the war. I found myself in the middle of a shooting between partisans and Nazis. Two bullets hit my hand. They wanted to amputate it. My brother objected. American soldiers taught me to re-educate the hand by dribbling it. I became left-handed. One day Rubini saw me on a playground, and told me that I was skinny, but I had talent. And I started to play.”