Pre-draw profile: EA7 Emporio Armani Milan

Dec 27, 2011 by Print
Malik Hairston - EA7 Emporio Armani
Malik Hairston
EA7 - Emporio Armani MilanoAfter a close call to finish an exciting Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan wipes the slate clean and enters the Top 16 eager to mount another strong run and to report to the playoffs, at a minimum. With two reigning Euroleague champs on the roster, two others that have played in the final, a coaching great pulling the strings and an incredible tradition that few clubs anywhere can match, it would not be a surprise to see Armani gather steam and march deep into the season. The club boasts three Euroleague crowns and has reached eight Euroleague finals in addition to 25 Italian League titles to go with its continental success, so the top is clearly where this club belongs. Olimpia Milan was a dominant franchise from its onset. Founded in 1936, Milan immediately won four consecutive domestic titles. Thirty years later, the arrival of Bill Bradley helped turn Milan into a continental power as the club lifted the Euroleague title in front of its home fans. Milano added three Saporta Cup titles between 1971 and 1976 led by the likes of Art Kenney, Renzo Bariviera, Giorgio Giomo and head coach Cesare Rubini. Milan tacked on Korac Cup crowns in 1985 and 1993. Mike D'Antoni, Dino Meneghin and Joe Barry Carroll helped Milan beat Varese 91-78 in the 1985 Korac Cup final, while Aleksandar Djordjevic, Antonello Riva and Riccardo Pittis led Milan past Roma in the 1993 Korac title series. Milan reached its best moments with a classic team of stars like Meneghin, Bob McAdoo and D'Antoni. They led Olimpia to back-to-back Euroleague titles in 1987 and 1988, both times against Maccabi Tel Aviv, under two different head coaches, Dan Peterson and Franco Casalini. The second of those crowns opened the Final Four era in Europe - even though Milan had won the title in the same format back in 1966. Milano's last titles came as the team won both the Italian League and the Italian Cup in 1996 with Nando Gentile, Dejan Bodiroga and Gregor Fucka. Things have not been easy since then, with Olimpia even missing the domestic playoffs on occasion. A new era started for Olimpia Milano when fashion designer Giorgio Armani became the team’s main sponsor. Milano made it to the Italian League finals in 2005 before losing against Climamio Bologna, but it earned the right to play again in the Euroleague. Armani Jeans Milano reached the Euroleague Top 16 in the 2008-09 season, winning five of its last six regular season games to clinch that spot. The team also made it back to the Italian League finals, a feat it repeated again in 2010. Milan’s hopes to reach the Euroleague Top 16 ended on the final day of the regular season last season, but the club turned back the clock and brought back coaching legend Peterson to finish the Italian League in third place. This year Sergio Scariolo took the reins eager to bring Milan to the top. And after surviving a tough regular season group, there is great optimism that this is the year Milan breaks through with a deep run.