Simone Fontecchio reveals his idol, the best Italian ever and how his nickname came about

Simone Fontecchio is having a very good time in the NBA with his new Detroit Pistons jersey.

He has also been interested in The Athletic who wanted to interview him. Among the topics discussed was the genesis of “Tek,” the nickname of Fontecchio, related to the great difficulties the U.S. has in pronounce his last name.

In the United States they have a hard time pronouncing my last name, the commentators often get it wrong. Even in the last game with the Bulls they got it wrong many times, I hope they have learned it now. When I came to the Utah Jazz there were Malik Beasley and Jason Terry who couldn’t say my last name and started shortening it to “Tek.” At first I didn’t like it, nobody ever called me by it but then it stuck with me again and now I like it, it’s fun.

After that Fontecchio talked about his landing in the NBA, which came a little late, perhaps partly because of his time at theOlimpia Milan.

The NBA was never a goal, there were never that many Italians, and growing up you see it more and more as something unattainable. In Italy we put more on Serie A, EuroLega or the national team as goals. Things changed with the 2021 Olympics, people started to recognize me, at that point I started to consider it a goal and the next season I succeeded. I didn’t think much about it, when the call from the NBA comes, it’s almost a no-brainer, a train that maybe only goes by once. I thought, “They are offering me a three-year (two + one with a franchise option, ed), I will do everything to do well and I can still go back to Europe even if I fail.” I was on the radar even when I was very young but then I disappeared until the Olympics because I had played very little in Milan and had not been able to show off.

Next, Simo told about his first approaches to the NBA as a child and revealed who his favorite player is: Dwyane Wade.

The first NBA games I watched were the 2006 Finals. Since then I have often pulled all-nighters to watch them live, especially in the playoffs. I remember waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning with my brother to watch them, I especially remember Game 7 of the 2016 Finals. My all-time favorite player is Dwyane Wade, it’s great to have him as a minority partner here at the Jazz. When I met him, I revealed that he is my idol and we went for a drink together.

Finally, a commendation to Danilo Gallinari, called the best player in the history of Italian basketball.

Danilo Gallinari is undoubtedly the greatest Italian in the history of the NBA and the best Italian player ever. I hope he has a chance to fight for the title in Milwaukee. As for our legends who may not be known to the general American public I mention Dino Meneghin and Antonello Riva, the latter being the leading scorer in the history of the National Team with 4,000 points, a thousand more than the latter.

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