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Hall of Fame 1: Adolfo Bogoncelli


Here we start presenting the members of the Olimpia’s Hall of Fame. The first one is obviously Adolfo Bogoncelli (Sandro Riminucci is in the picture with him).

Adolfo Bogoncelli, the Bogos, is Mister Olimpia. All the club’s history is part of his personal story. Bogoncelli is the one who founded Olimpia and then kept the myth alive for decades. Olimpia was born… in Modena, where Bogoncelli attended the military academy falling in love with basketball and handling the local team, GUF Modena. When he was finished with the academy, Bogoncelli – a Treviso native – moved to Milano and here founded the Triestina Milano, a team supported by the Action Party to promote and defend the “triestinità” at a time the eastern Italy town was in peril of being taken away from the country. Bogoncelli convinced some good players from Trieste to join him in Milano, including Cesare Rubini. But just a little later, the Action Party stopped paying him money and Bogoncelli to keep his team alive had to move it to Como and play a Serie B season. One year later, Dopolavoro Borletti was promoted in Serie B, too and Bogoncelli had the idea to merge his Como’s team with Borletti and returned to Milano full-time. The team was initially known as “Borolimpia” but its real name has always been Olimpia. The great idea was to pretend the year of birth was 1936 so it was the same year of the first title. It was like being born under the success sign.

Bogoncelli was the Olimpia’s founder basically but its visionary president too and with a sixth sense for, well, everything: he was the one picking Rubini as a player-coach, then as a coach-only, he was the creator of the Rubini-Gamba couple, he decided to send Gamba to the United States to learn, study and watch players, he was the one launching the “red shoes” and the brilliant red jerseys. He made Olimpia not just a war-machine on the court but also a club at the top of the game in everything. He signed-off the great Bradley’s idea and he was the president of the first-ever European championship and he was the one who hired Dan Peterson as a coach, interviewing him… in Paris and creating another successful tandem with Toni Cappellari. Peterson arrived riding the wave of the rebuilding project after the astonishing relegation to A2, although swept away very quickly.

The last move by Bogoncelli was selling the team to Gianmario Gabetti, who quicky traded for Meneghin from Varese and built another great dynasty. Bogoncelli was great even at picking his successor.