Sensations, perspectives, traffic!
Hi everybody! I'm Nicolo Melli, a forward here at Armani Jeans Milano. I'm 19 years old and honored to be the blogger for my team, writing for Euroleague.net and reaching fans worldwide. This is my first experience at a such a high basketball level, both in my country, Italy, and in Europe. We face a tough season to face with a double mission: getting back to the Euroleague by reaching the Italian League finals while trying to do our best in the Euroleague now won't be easy. This is a great group of guys and we are doing our best to focus on definite goals.
This season marks an important jump for me. I played for three years in the Italian second division, at Reggio Emilia (a small, but nice city in northern Italy) and now have moved to a big commercial city like Milan. To be a part of a team with such a great basketball tradition - both in the Euroleague and the Italian League - is very exciting! I'm playing now against players who I would have watched on television until October, and that's great! It's great playing against big teams in important cities like Moscow and Istanbul. To be honest, these have been my most impressive first experiences. I came away with two very different sensations in Moscow. The first one was a sweet victory, while the second one was sadness seeing the gray shadows settling over the capital. On the contrary, Istanbul appeared to me a city with a special atmosphere, perhaps because it is near the sea. Anyways, I had never been there, so playing in the Euroleague gives me the opportunity to see different cultures, and that gives you a new perspective on life. Understanding new worlds, different traditions and respecting other lifestyles can only allow you to expand your knowledge of life.
It was very exciting to enter Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul, the basketball court where the last World Championships were held. We were in the exact same locker room used by the Lithuanian national team during the World Championships, which we know because my teammate Jonas Maciulis sat in the same seat and even found an old label from the bottle of bath gel that he used during the tournament. He thought it was a lucky sign, but unfortunately it was only a coincidence. We lost against Efes Pilsen anyway. Among our opponents, I was quite impressed with Igor Rakocevic. Scoring for him is easy; he has no secrets. At the same time, Cenk Akyol moves on the court with great elegance: what a player!
I played against Efes for 15 minutes in Istanbul, and from this experience, I hope to have improved my game. I hope to improve my playing time on the court, too, but of course that depends on the coach, the game situation and how well I work day by day. I know what is expected of me and I have my own goals to achieve. The idea of facing the best basketball players in Europe gives me the extra motivation to do so.
Before signing off, I would like to greet all of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague fans. And I would like to mention something about the Traffic - yes, with a big T. I have never seen so much traffic as in Moscow! Incredible! Istanbul seemed to be a big city with a lot of traffic, but not nearly as much as in the Russian capital. My teammates who had been there before said it was exceptional that day. I hope so. And I hope to find some exceptional traffic around Mediolanum Forum in Milan for our next games. This would mean our fans are coming to support us! And this is what we hope for and this what we need - support!! A winning combination of team and fans is so important to reach big goals!!! Hope to see you at the Forum!
NICOLO MELLI - MILANO, ITALY
Monday, November 08, 2010