By: Freaknick

Here I sit in Roma, the Eternal City, and guess what? Still no signs of basketball. Sure there’s a hoop every now and again and I did see a Euroleague basketball for sale in the Nike Store, but we still have a long way to go everybody. I’m not giving up on European hoops that easily, and neither should Italy. After all, they have a lot to be proud of.

A few years ago, Italian Andrea Bargnani became the first ever European-born player to be drafted with the #1 overall pick. While Andrea’s making a name for himself in the league along with fellow countrymen Marco Belinelli and Danilo Gallinari, they still have a ways to go before being called the best Italians ever. Here’s what they’re up against:

Ibn Notes: In 1970, Meneghin became the first foreign player to ever be drafted by an NBA team In 1970, Dino was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks.  In Meneghin’s 20 seasons in the Italian league, Dino lead his teams to an amazing twelve Italian Basketball League Championships (1969-74, 1977-78, 1982, 1985-87, 1989) and finished second place in those Italian Championships eight times.  In 1980, he helped the Italian National Team bring home the silver medal from the Moscow Olympics.  Dino Meneghin is a legend and in 2003, he became the second Italiain to ever be inducted into the Basketball Hall-Of-Fame.

Let us pay our respects to the man who put Italian hoops on the map.