TREVISO The first championship never forget. It was the evening thirty years ago, the 9 maggio 1992, and Treviso burst into celebration. The final against the Scavolini of champions such as Magnifico, Workman and Daye was the icing on the cake of an unforgettable season, the only one in which the refined palates of Treviso people were able to admire the two stars of the green-and-white firmament together: Toni Kukoc and Vinny Del Negro. “The center that evening was an unforgettable scene, invaded by people celebrating. A magical atmosphere of happiness and optimism ”, says the Treviso writer Alessandro Toso, which has just published the book “9 May 1992”, to be released on 9 May for the Treviso-based ODE editions. A collective book, for which all the members of the team at the time were heard. A work that tells a story “that no one has ever really told”as the coach said two years ago during a match between old glories in Treviso Pero Skansi, who passed away a few weeks ago. The project was born from an idea of Toso, at the time 22 years old, commentator of Antenna Tre and author of the Palaverde newspaper “Pressing”. Idea in which the captain of the team at the time, Massimo Iacopini, was involved. “Initially he was hesitant, he does not like self-celebrations, but talking about it in Bologna with Nino Pellecani, – explains Toso, – it emerged how important it would have been to remember that season for the people who are no longer there, to close a circle”. Since last autumn the work has begun. The book, whose proceeds will be entirely donated to Advarwill be presented in Ghirada on 9 May evening, in the presence (physical or virtual from the States) of the team at the time.
What made this book possible?
«The testimony of all the protagonists of the time, of the team members, of the Benettons, of the recently deceased coach. Since the book is the result of teamwork, the proceeds had to be donated. We decided to donate to Advar, also thinking of Skansi, who died of a tumor ».
How did you give the protagonists a voice?
«I have told this season in six macro chapters, divided in turn into three parts. One part is my narration of the events, the second part contains the interviews with the protagonists, however reconstructed as flashes that recreate the narration. The last part of each chapter is a direct literary dialogue between Captain Iacopini and Pellacani ».
So did you interview everyone?
“Of course. Even the members of the team in America, by telephone (thanks to Federico Bettuzzi for the help) ». Skansi instead we went directly to visit him at home in Croatia. We had a beautiful day, he shared all his memories of basketball. He had already been ill for some time. I witnessed the meeting between him and Iacopini, for which he felt a great affection. Skansi was a giant in many ways ».
You were a commentator at the time, so this book of yours ultimately closes a circle for you too?
“I felt like I was in the court of kings and princes. Now that we are all adults, the distances have vanished. It is thrilling. For the boys and girls of Treviso, the players were rock stars. And at the center was the Benetton family. The team was a creation of Gilberto Benetton, fruit of his passion, so it was natural to hear the widow and a nephew who followed every match ».
In the book he also talks about the social and economic context of those years. How?
«Basketball in the early nineties was the mirror of the times, it was thought that everything was on the rise. Billions of lire were invested. This was also the case for Treviso, but Benetton had been sponsoring the team for a long time, over ten years, before investing even more. So players like Toni Kukoc arrived in Italy, who wanted the whole world, already chosen by Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. For the first time Treviso, considered a province not only in sport, overlooked the stage that usually belonged to other cities such as Bologna, Pesaro, Cantù. But these large investments did not have a return in terms of visibility. I then broadened my gaze, telling what was happening in the world: the conflict in the Balkans, the HIV that hit Magic Johnson, the first internet site “.
What memory do you have of that evening in Treviso?
«I should have gone to Da Celeste to celebrate with the team, but I didn’t want to leave the girlfriend, who is now my wife, alone. So we went downtown together and there I saw the affection of many people. The captain himself told me that the only regret he has is that the team and the club didn’t go out and celebrate. We will do it thirty years later ».
What will the launch event be like?
«On 9 May we will be at the restaurant in Ghirada, where the team has traditionally celebrated its successes. We will do a presentation with everyone except the Americans who will be connected via Zoom. Then have dinner with the players who will continue to interact with the fans. After all, many things have changed in thirty years, but the city is the same, the sport is the same, and the protagonists, who have grown up, are always them ».