Luigi Datome speaks before the championship final between Olimpia Milano and Virtus Bologna: «Who will win? I do not know. But I know how much the boxes will turn to whoever loses”
Gigi Datome, do you know how many finals you have played so far?
“I’ve lost count…”
I’ll help you: twenty-one. With the one starting today, it’s twenty-two.
«Damn, I’m really a veteran…».
And of these twenty-two, eight are for a Scudetto. So far four won and three lost. How will your third with Olimpia Milano and your third against Virtus Bologna go?
«I worked, we worked, to get to the end. But then there are also the opponents, who will also have worked to win. We’ll see in the end.”
Did the loser fail the season?
“That’s wrong reasoning. We players live in another dimension, we don’t care who explains to us why we have to win and why we can’t lose. We go out on the field to give our best. Then, as mentioned, there are also the opponents. But I think it’s already a success to be here».
His colleague Giannis Antetokounmpo said – very succinctly – that failure in sport does not exist.
“It’s a delicate matter. He said that a bad year can happen but that we go on. Does this make sense. But it is obvious that we are judged on the basis of the results. The important thing is to always improve, push your limits beyond. Then you win and you lose. To understand each other, I agree with those who argue that success is a failure that has not yet arrived. There are those who need to say “that failed”. But I repeat, we live in another dimension compared to the fans and the critics».
So who wins this final series?
“I can not know that. I should say Milan, of course, but I really don’t know. I can say that I know how pissed off you are when you lose, so…”
The technicians, always simplifying, say that the defense of Milan and the attack of Bologna will face each other.
«But we also have excellent offensive players, and Bologna has great specialists in defense. I think it will be a very physical series, where everyone will try to remove points of reference from their opponents. There are many champions on the field who can direct the matches, we must be ready to seize the opportunity when it comes close to us».
Among the champions in the field there is also Gigi Datome. How does he get to this final?
«Well, finally, after a very difficult year».
And long absences. Does he tell us what happened?
«So many physical problems, with the regret and frustration of not being able to help the team that was going badly. First a virus from which I recovered with difficulty, I trained and couldn’t keep up with my teammates. Then, when I came back, I immediately broke my hair. Now, touching wood, it seems to me that I’m back to being a decent basketball player…».
During this “very difficult year”, did you ever think, at the age of 35, that it was time to give up and end a great career?
“Actually, no. The virus and scavigliata do not depend on age ».
Kobe Bryant explained his retirement by saying, “I woke up one morning and my body told me I couldn’t go on any longer.” Do you think it will be the same for her?
“If I had to listen to what the physicist tells me, I should have stopped three years ago.”
Was there a time limit? How many seasons do you still plan to play?
«I can only think up to race 1. Then I’ll move on to race 2. I can’t go any further».
Tonight he will find his contemporary Marco Belinelli on the other side. What does he envy him?
«Let’s be precise: Marco is one year older than me. But I’m glad to see him still decisive. I envy him the winning attitude that he has built up over the years, and it hasn’t been easy».
And what could Belinelli envy of her?
«Definitely my Sardinia, since it always comes to us for holidays».
At nearly 36, do you see another Datome on the horizon?
«Well, I’m a particular player… I see good young people, different from me: Gabriele Procida, for example, or Sasha Grant».
Will he find them again in the national team?
«I think about finishing the championship in the best possible way, then we’ll see. If I’m fine, and if Pozzecco thinks I’m still useful to the cause, then why not?”
June 8, 2023 (change June 8, 2023 | 23:55)
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