Final Four-bound: AX Armani Exchange Milan

May 06, 2021 by Euroleague.net Print
Final Four-bound: AX Armani Exchange Milan

AX Armani Exchange Milan is the only team that played in each of the first three EuroLeague Final Fours. However, Milan had not been to European basketball's flagship event in 29 years until it secured its return this season. The Final Four was introduced in 1966, but lasted only two seasons. Milan defeated Slavia Prague in Bologna, Italy, in the first championship game and lost to Real Madrid in the title game in the Spanish capital a year later. Milan was the reigning EuroLeague champion when the Final Four was reintroduced for the 1988 season and defended its title by beating Maccabi Tel Aviv in Ghent, Belgium. However, the club has not won the title since and its lone Final Four appearance after that was in 1992.

In the early 2000s, Milan was no longer a EuroLeague team. It made its return for the 2005-06 season and has been a regular since 2007. Until this season, Milan's only playoff appearance in the modern era came in 2014 when it had the home-court advantage against Maccabi for a ticket to the Final Four in Milan. But the Israeli champs made a historic comeback in Game 1 and won the series in Tel Aviv to return to the Fashion Capital, where they captured the title. Coach Ettore Messina was hired in the summer of 2019 and his first full season with the club has it back among the content's best four teams.

The Milan roster has a pair of former German League champions. Kyle Hines made his EuroLeague debut with Brose Bamberg in 2010-11 and led the team to a German League and Cup double. Malcolm Delaney helped FC Bayern Munich win the 2014 German crown in what was also his maiden EuroLeague campaign. And Shavon Shields played his first professional season in Germany for Frankfurt. Now they look to celebrate a EuroLeague crown in Cologne.