We’re giving you the chance to read our exclusive interview with the NBA champion that was published in the Matchday Programme for Inter vs Juventus

MILAN - It’s a special bond which exists between Inter and Marco Belinelli, NBA basketball champion, who is currently playing for the San Antonio Spurs, with whom he won the NBA Finals. Here is the interview with the famous Italian basketball player, published exclusively for the first time in the Matchday Programme for Inter vs Juventus (click here to browse the Italian programme)

“I love to play basketball; I really feel like myself on the court, I’ve always expressed myself best there.” Marco Belinelli’s career tells a story of dreams, stubbornness and seriousness. “As long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be an NBA basketball player. It was the early 90s, and I would stay up late with my older brother Enrico to watch the games. I entered the NBA when I was 20, but I never felt like I was a newcomer. I learnt to succeed by myself, by getting my head down and working hard. It’s in this way I earned the respect of my teammates.” And it’s in this way that he made his way to the very top. “Speaking today, my favourite memories are those from 2014; winning the Three-Point Contest at the All-Star Weekend and winning the title with the Spurs, with Ginobili, Parker and Duncan.”

As a child back in Bologna, he had posters of basketball icons hanging on the walls of his bedroom. “Bologna is a ‘basketball city’, for the kids is completely natural to play basketball, but there was a player who left such a huge impression on me: Ronaldo, he had something extraordinary and thanks to him I started supporting Inter. I had his signed shirt hanging on the wall next to Kobe Bryant’s, who gave it to e after the first match we played against each other. Two icons for me.”

And speaking of icons and of high level competition: “Lukaku gifted me his signed shirt, a really beautiful present. Besides being a great footballer he has an amazing physique. I hope that he can have an impact in the style of LeBron James, a decisive impact. I know that Barella is also a big basketball fan. We could organise a little game when I come back to Italy, a 3 vs 3: me, Lukaku and Barella, and we will see who wants to take us on!”

While we wait to discover his opponents, a tip for a winning team: “The group is crucial in a team that wants to win. If the mentality isn’t right, if you’re not all pulling in the same direction, you won’t go anywhere.”

photo credit: Matteo Marchi

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