By Eurohoops Team/ email@example.com
The Crossover’s celebration of the EuroLeague’s 20th anniversary, brought to all fans by Turkish Airlines, continues with Joe Arlauckas hosting 2017 champion Luigi Datome of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul. A veteran of 10 EuroLeague seasons who made his EuroLeague debut as a 16-year old back in 2004, Datome has more than 200 appearances in the competition, as well as many other interests beyond basketball. Datome and Arlauckas touch on many of them, including plenty of basketball, in this episode.
Basketball is a Datome family affair. His father is the long-time president of a small basketball club in Olbia, the little town on the island of Sardinia where he grew up. Many of their family friends have come through basketball. Datome’s brother, who is five years older, started practicing first and Gigi naturally followed him.
[4:55] “I don’t remember my first day of basketball because it was part of my family”, Datome said.
In an era when TV cameras and social media capture all the emotions, good and bad, Datome often appears to be the epitome of calmness on the court. However, he says that not so early in his career, especially when losses frustrated him, but things changed over time.
[28:45] “Basketball is incredible. It can really give you possibilities until the last second, so I try to stay calm until the last second,” he explained. “Then, when the final buzzer sounds, that’s the moment to say I am happy or sad.”
Datome’s basketball journey has taken him to six clubs in a 17-year career, including four seasons in Siena, five in Rome and five with Fenerbahce.
[53:05] “Every path is different, in basketball and also in life, and you need to adapt,” he added. “The better you understand, the better you will succeed.”
Datome has many interests outside basketball, from music to art to writing. He explained that he is not afraid that his teammates will make fun of him for any of that, nor for his famous beard.
[53:50] “I know from the outside I look like this weird guy doing everything except basketball, but I leave this window open through my social media to know something more about me,” Datome said. “I am now one of the oldest in the locker room and no one will dare to make fun of me.”
Datome also talks about what went into his decision to sign with Fenerbahce in 2015, when he was “starving to play basketball”, about the fire the team got after the overtime loss in the 2016 championship game, Fenerbahce’s run to the 2017 EuroLeague title and his relationship with Coach Zeljko Obradovic. They also talked about the ways in which Datome is trying to help his community, especially in these tough times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With a one-hour format of exclusive one-on-one interviews, The Crossover with Joe Arlauckas goes well beyond the playing court with each podcast to delve into the life experiences that have made his guests protagonists and legends of the EuroLeague. This season, he is also reviewing the EuroLeague’s modern history in its 20th season of this century by talking to the legends who have made the competition more popular than ever.
The Crossover debuted last season with such current stars as Vassilis Spanoulis and Kyle Hines, coaching greats like Pablo Laso and Zeljko Obradovic, and legends like Nikola Vujcic and Robertas Javtokas, among others. Recent guests include Coach Sarunas Jasikevicius of Zalgiris Kaunas, Coach Xavi Pascual of Zenit St Petersburg and Tyrese Rice of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens.