Gigi Datome: “Our goal is showing that we are up to the best”

2022-10-05T10:47:08+00:00 2022-10-05T10:47:08+00:00.

Cesare Milanti

05/Oct/22 10:47

Before the start of the 2022-23 EuroLeague season, Gigi Datome talked about Milan’s ambitions for this year

By Cesare Milanti /

Milan, Italy – When Gigi Datome decided to bring his talents back to Italy, to play in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague in Milan, coached by a living legend like Ettore Messina, he had more than fifteen teammates. Now, only three of them (Kyle Hines, Shavon Shields, and Paul Biligha) are still playing in Olimpia’s jersey.

The team has grown, and after first reaching a historical Final Four in 2020-21, they came up short against reigning champions Anadolu Efes last season. To go even further in the 2022-23 season, they added a lot of new valuable assets.

“It’s definitely a very competitive and long roster, but it’s also a really new team, especially with the fact that six of us Italians and Johannes Voigtmann were committed to the national team. We really need time to get together”, Gigi Datome said in an exclusive interview with Eurohoops.

Other than the German international, Brandon Davies and Kevin Pangos will also be coached by Ettore Messina, among new signings. The former Boston Celtics forward admitted they first need to build good chemistry in the locker room.

I have confidence in the work and the coach, in the Milan company, so we will get where we want to go, but now it is really early and it is difficult to make predictions. The goal, as in recent years, is to play it with everyone in Europe, to show that we are up to the best. Slowly, the main goal is to stay in the gym together, work, and grow as a team”, he added.

Milan will start its 2022-23 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season by visiting ASVEL on 6th October at 20:00 CET. The first of many difficult games, with a lot of difficult matchups, against intriguing teams to face: “There are the usual ones that are always at the top in recent years, I think of Efes, Real, and Barcelona. There is no CSKA Moscow for obvious reasons. I think Fener has made a great team, Maccabi Tel Aviv is one of those potentially dangerous teams, like Pana which has improved a lot. These are the teams that come to my mind”, he said about which opponents could be particularly damaging.

But Ettore Messina’s team wants to compete at the best possible level in Italy as well, trying to win the 30th Italian championship in club history, even though it will be a tough challenge. “This will be a long and difficult season. I am happy that the Italian championship is growing. To name a team we already faced, Brescia is a much deeper squad, considering their EuroCup duties. And there are many other similar teams. It will be difficult as always, we know it and it’s what gives us the motivation to come every day to the gym”, he remarked.

“We need maximum attention, work, and daily effort to achieve such important goals. In Italy, we want to compete to win everything, and in the EuroLeague, we will try to get to the playoffs in a better form than last year. But I repeat: there is still a lot of work to do in the gym”, Gigi Datome said about EA7 Emporio Armani Milan’s goals for the season.

Before going back to the gym in Milan, Gigi Datome lived a full-emotions experience by playing EuroBasket 2022, with the group stage in front of his audience in the Mediolanum Forum. “It was a great month, especially for the week here in Milan. There really was a feeling all over the city that there was a big event going on. I hope this has brought many new fans together. The games were nice, with several sold-outs, so it was great to be there and play EuroBasket at home”, he commented.

“Then we moved to Berlin, where there was the amazing game against Serbia, something crazy. Another extraordinary match with France, which unfortunately ended badly. It’s a big regret when it ends like this. When you had the feeling you had made it, it was bad. But with a cool head, we have to be proud and realize that we can play at those levels, go back and try to do better”, he said about Italy’s recent past and future objectives.

PHOTO CREDIT: Turkish Airlines EuroLeague