8 August 2017

Danilo Gallinari – basketball player

Giant from Lodi province who plays in America’s NBA

Danilo Gallinari joined New York Knicks in 2008 after entering the draft
Danilo Gallinari joined New York Knicks
in 2008 after entering the draft
Danilo Gallinari, one of two Italian-born players currently active in America’s National Basketball Association, was born on this day in 1988 in Sant’Angelo Lodigiani in Lombardy.

Only seven Italian-born players have participated in the NBA – America’s premier basketball league – since its formation in 1946.

The other Italian player presently with an NBA team is Marco Belinelli, from San Giovanni in Persiceto, near Bologna, who is attached to the Atlanta Hawks.

Gallinari, who stands 6ft 10ins tall, has played for three NBA teams, the latest of which – Los Angeles Clippers – he joined only last month.

Previously he had played for New York Knicks, whose coach, Mike D’Antoni, is an American-born former player who is now an Italian citizen, and for the Denver Nuggets.

Gallinari, whose father, Vittorio, played professional basketball for teams in Milan, Pavia, Bologna and Verona, began his career in 2004 with Casalpusterlengo, a third-level Italian team from a town about 25km (15 miles) from his home in Sant’Angelo Lodigiani.

He moved up a tier in 2005 by joining Armani Jeans Milano and then Edimes Pavia, where in 2006 he was named best Italian player in the Italian League Second Division, despite missing half the season through injury.

Danilo Gallinari, representing the  Italian national team in 2010
Danilo Gallinari, representing the
Italian national team in 2010
This earned him a move to his father’s old club, Olimpia Milano, in which he was named as the First Division’s best player under the age of 22 in his first season and topped the league’s overall efficiency ratings in 2007-08.

Gallinari also represented Olimpia Milano in the elite EuroLeague – basketball’s equivalent of the Champions League in football – scoring 27 points in his final game of the 2007-08 campaign against Maccabi Tel Aviv.

His move to the NBA came in 2008, when he took advantage of an escape clause in his Olimpia Milano contract that permitted him to take up any opportunity to play professionally in the United States and entered himself for the NBA draft.

New York Knicks acquired him as the sixth draft pick and gave him a two-year contract.

Gallinari’s time in the NBA has been bedevilled by injuries yet his performances have improved year on year.

He missed a large part of his debut 2008-09 season with back problems and, after sustaining an anterior ligament injury that ended his 2012-13 season at Denver early, he had to sit out the entire 2013-14 season as he underwent rehabilitation.

Gallinari, who plays as a small forward/power forward, was also sidelined for the final 22 games of the 2015-16 season with Denver because of an ankle injury.

He is currently unable to play after fracturing a thumb representing Italy in a friendly against the Netherlands, the result of throwing a punch against an opponent.

He was the biggest acquisition of the summer for Los Angeles Clippers when he moved last month.

Gallinari’s statistics, however, demonstrate how he has become an increasingly valuable player when fit.  In 2009, he set a career-high points haul of 30 for New York against Philadelphia 76ers; his current career-high stands at 47, which he recorded in a double-overtime loss to Dallas Mavericks for Denver Nuggets in 2015.

A sunlit Piazza della Vittoria
A sunlit Piazza della Vittoria
Travel tip:

Both Sant’Angelo Lodigiano and Casalpusterlengo are municipalities in the province of Lodi, an historic small city on the banks of the River Adda that was the property of the Visconti family and the Sforzas in the 15th and 16th centuries, when it had great value as the central town of a richly fertile agricultural area, which it is to this day.  Its prosperity was the consequence of a system of artificial rivers and channels, work on which began in the 13th century, that was created to irrigate what had previously been arid and unusable land. The heart of the city is the beautiful Piazza della Vittoria.

  The Mediolanum Forum, home of Olimpio Milano
The Mediolanum Forum, home of Olimpio Milano
Travel tip:

The Olimpio Milano team, sometimes known as Emporio Armani Milano, play their home matches at the Mediolanum Forum, an indoor sports and concert arena with seats for 12,700 spectators, situated in the Assago suburb of Milan and now accessible by a direct Metro service from the centre of the city.  Assago is also home to the Italian headquarters of Nestlé.

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