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ITA – New class inducted for Italia Basket Hall of Fame

BOLOGNA (FIBA) - The latest class to enter Italy’s Basketball Hall of Fame was inducted in Bologna over the weekend where the Coppa Italia was staged and CSKA Moscow coach Ettore Messina was among those to go in.

Italy have moved into the spotlight as one of three candidates to stage the 2014 FIBA World Championship, and Sunday’s ceremony was another example of the sport having a rich tradition in the country.

FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann, FIBA Secretary General Emeritus Boris Stankovic, FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin and FIBA Sports Director Lubo Kotleba were in Bologna for the event.

Those inducted were former players Ottorino Flaborea, Aldo Ossola, Nidia Pausich; Aldo Vitale (a life in basketball); former Italy coaches Nello Paratore and Giancarlo Primo (both honored posthumously) and Messina; and Giancarlo Vitolo (referee for 22 years in Lega A).

"Today is a great day for me, not only for the awards we are handing out but for the people that are receiving them,” said recently elected Italian Basketball Federation president Dino Meneghin, who spoke at the event.

"Some of these people have taught me how to grow up.

"We are very good at forgetting quickly those that have given so much to basketball. The Italian Basketball Hall of Fame allows us in one way to make amends."

Messina was among those who spoke in Bologna, one of the cities where he once coached.

He was a long-serving boss of Virtus Bologna, leading them to two European titles and numerous other achievements.

"I have been fortunate,” he said. “I have had strong teams and great assistants like Giordano Consolini and great teachers like Sandro Gamba.

“I am 50, but in my head, I feel like I’m 27.

"I am among the best but I see them very far away from me, in a way, unreachable.

“I am very proud to be here today."

Meneghin also used the occasion to promote Italy’s bid to host the FIBA World Championship.

"Our basketball in general is ready to host the World Championship of 2014,” he said.

“We have presented a wonderful candidature and now FIBA have the final say."