In 1962 I started to work as physical education and history teacher. Since then all basketball, always basketball. The coach’s job is to sell his product, his style, trying to convince the players to buy what he sells: his mentality, his advices. In counterattack you, playmaker, must stop on the line of sight dribbling, arresting and throwing.”
“In the US, we use to play in the playgrounds where the basketball is played in its essence. We have learnt to play without a coach. I realized immediately that if the team plays for the team can beat a stronger team that does not play for the team. In Italy, basketball players are less powerful now than in the 80’s-90’s because there are no playgrounds where the players can play, see and understand how to play without a coach, just because they love basketball
“It was the winter between 1962 and 1963, in Varese the students’ championships were taking place and my school was among the participant teams. Nicola Messina was the basketball coach, he worked also for Ignis. I went to support the team together with a friend of mine, Giancarlo Spissu. We were there doing our job as fervent supporters and since I was already one meter taller than my friends, Messina noticed me. He fired me a point-blank question: “Have you ever played basketball?” I replied stammering: “No, I’ve never tried…” I did not even have the time to reply that he ordered me: “I want to see you running, show me how you run, you can keep your coat on…” He did not even ask me my height, he just wanted to see me running with my coat on! I went two or three times back and forth in the gym and then he brought in the verdict: “Ok, it’s enough. Come back tomorrow afternoon with your basketball shoes on: you will start to train immediately.”
"Winning with the national team is something that has no price. For every Argentine player wearing the national team shirt is a great pride and this attachment also moves into the club teams, it pushes us to always give our best "
When you have a long career like mine, you cannot think that your method is always the right one, regardless of who you have in the team. It is the biggest mistake. The coach needs to know how to adjust the method to the context; the evolution has to start from his side.
“I could have told to Sasha to shoot only when he was free. I would have forced him to think. And thinking he would have lost all his fighting spirit, the killer instinct, the anger that makes him to win the match. The main character is and must be the player, therefore before matches my speeches last less than ten minutes.”
“I’ve always loved transition. My thought has always been – as I was told by US coaches that I saw during the summer – that it is better to take the opponents when they relax, when they return to their position after scoring a basket: that’s exactly the right time in which you try to attack them.”
“Basketball has taught me the pace of life. I walk on the street with my children. I hear in the distance that sound in my veins, in the blood, in the nervous system. I turn and see some boys going to the training pitch dribbling the ball on the street. Today I follow them in the same way as my former mates of many battles: Central Park, Don Bosco, Piazza Azzarita 8. The basketball is a universal presence: it is already in your hands when you see it flying towards you.”