SPECIAL THANKS TO ROSETO DEGLI ABRUZZI
Dear friends of the Rosetana,
it would have been very easy to send the two ritual lines of thanks for the invitation you made for the “Coppa Lido delle Rose”. Then the enthusiasm was a thousand and everything would fall into formality.
Yesterday evening, our basketball section held its annual assembly during which we talked about the activities carried out, and the future. Of course, a special memory flew to the really pleasant stay, that thanks to your hospitality we spent in Roseto degli Abruzzi. We thank you for this.
The success of the event is the best applause you can have. It amazes how a town like Roseto knows how to perfectly organize a tournament… so huge. We met and we have a fond memory in our hearts.
Best wishes for your business, greetings to all athletes. Our ardent hope is to meet again in the future, in order to strengthen our friendship more and more.
For Cremonese basketball players
Unione Sportiva Cremonese
Campo Sportivo Comunale
Via Cardinal Massaia
The above handwritten letter is from September 14, 1949, seventy years ago, and it is absolutely a masterpiece of the sentiments growing in the Italian basketball in the post-war, when Italy was trying to be reborn after the fascism, a world war, and a civil war.
Already in 1945, as soon as the war ended, some young men armed with good hopes decided that a tournament would be played to give prestige to the desire for rebirth of Roseto degli Abruzzi, a town in central Italy, at the same latitude as Rome, but on the slope of the Adriatic Sea. They certainly did not think about what would become, but with their feet on the ground they tried to win in the Pineta Celommi court, where the first edition took place. The difficulties were so many, so that the 1946 edition did not take place, but the driving force of those pioneers was decisive to start again with the 2nd edition in 1947, to become a never-ending (story) tournament.
THE ELDER OF THE BASKETBALL TOURNEYS
It doesn’t matter if it is the oldest of Italy, of Europe, or of the World, the most important is it is still ALIVE. Certainly not anymore in the pinewood, nor outdoor, not anymore with the Gotha of the int’l hoops.
Yes, international, because on the court of the Arena 4 Palme, or of the PalaMaggetti, several protagonists featured. Sergei Belov, Alexander Belov, Renato William Jones, Volodia Tkachenko, Giancarlo Primo, Kresimir Cosic, Oscar Schmidt, Dino Meneghin, Zizo Troskot, Pierluigi Marzorati, Iwan Bisson, Ivan Edeshko, Sandro Gamba, Sergio Stefanini, Danny Ferry, Radivoj Korac, Art Kenney, Pino Brumatti, Brian Shaw, Sandro Riminucci, Mihai Albu, Massimo Masini, Borut Bassin, Charlie Yelverton, Vinny Del Negro, Roberto Brunamonti, and the local hero Remo Maggetti. I apologize immensely with all those who do not cite, without any intention of forgetting or belittling them.
So, the debut was at pinewood in 1945, in 1949 they play at a tennis club, and finally in 1950 started the legend of the 4 Palme.
1950s, the Toddler Years
The decade saw the last win of local Rosetana in 1950, at the debut of the tournament in the Arena 4 Palme (Four Palms Arena), an open-air concrete court, alongside the railways. In the other years there will be the unique three-peat of Gira Bologna, in a series of 5 victories out seven years (1949-1955). The tournament list of the winners is enriched by 1954 mythical Borletti Milano, and 1957 Simmenthal Milano, with the stella, symbol of the tenth scudetto.
1958 was the year of Virtus Bologna, and 1956 and 1959 were the time of the Eternal City, with A.S.Roma and Stella Azzurra. By the way after 60 years, for this season 2019 took place a mutul partnership between Roseto Sharks and Stella Azzurra, for the participation at Legadue championship.
1960s, the Internationality
Given the nearness of Roseto degli Abruzzi to Roma, venue of the Olympics, and Bologna, venue of the Olympic Qualification Round, they saw the first int’l tournament with four continents represented, in the final standing: Thailandia, Australia, Great Britain, and Sudan. Really it waited till 1963 to become steadily int’l, with the intermission of 1961 and 1962 respectively won by the other two powers of the Lombard Triangle beside Milano, I mean Levissima Cantù, and Ignis Varese. For the stats the three clubs, between 1966 and 1993 will win 32 Int’l Cups…). In the Varese team played the son of Roseto, Remo Maggetti, and they had been the protagonists, or victims, of the first own goal (autocanasta) made by Real Madrid on January 18, 1962, in the Champions Cup, ordered by Ferrandiz, to avoid a time dangerous extra time. Consequently, the rule was changed. The first foreigner winner was Košarkarski klub Olimpija Ljubljana, 1963 and 1964, led by the blonde Bassin, il biondino.
1970s, the Enshrinement
Firstly the image of people crowed, yelling and cheering at Arena 4 Palme remained indelible in the memories of the attendants, that night of July 8, 1976, when Italians they beat for the first time ever 84:80 the Soviet Moloch, led by the heroes of Munich 1972, the Belovs, and the giant Tkachenko. Only one year before, silver medal Soviet Union beat 69:65 bronze medal Italy, in the EuroBasket at Belgrade. In 1978 USSR won for the first time.
Another fact was the Summer arrival of American players in pickup All-Stars team, organized and coached by the phenomenal Jim McGregor, and frequently winning the finals, as 1968 Gulf Oil, 1969 TWA, 1972 Gillette, 1977 Sicutronic. In the 1960s and 70s, when basket was still little more than a cult sport in much of the world, McGregor came up with the idea of putting together teams of collegians and taking them to Europe. McGregor cut sponsorship deals with Levis, which was happy to outfit the players in the hippie era, and with Gillette, which frowned on the very idea of beards and long hair. He flew the international flag of capitalism with Gulf Oil as his sponsor for many years and he flew it on TWA, which defrayed his travel costs considerably. And it wasn’t long before McGregor discovered something far more important than winning matches. Did an Italian team covet a particular player on his traveling squad? McGregor would instruct his players to make him look like an all-star when the two teams met. The player would acquire a contract, McGregor would acquire a transfer fee and the other players would acquire the knowledge that the best game of their careers lay directly ahead. Jim was just 20 years ahead of all of ‘em
From 1980s to 2010s
As happens in the human things, after to have been touched the zenith, afterwards it’s impossible to repeat. The victory over the Soviets reached the highest point of the Torneissimo. I noticed the Rosetans are shy to talk about it, like when you’ve lost someone dear and it hurts you to talk about it, but if you can just turn on the fuse, the eyes glitter and memories fall like rain.
The tradition is still there, the passion is still there, Trofeo Lido delle Rose is still living, but the poetry is gone.
Nowadays it’s difficult for a newcomer in basketball, visiting Roseto degli Abruzzi, and realize how much glorious was the Torneissimo, as called by Giordani.
For the middle aged is easier. Personally I moved to Roseto degli Abruzzi ten years ago, and immediately I went to Arena 4 Palme, and breathe old memories, collected in my first forties, of that legendary court. As soon as you go down the steps to get to the playing field, you are in the corner dedicated to Sergei Belov, who from there shot endless series of baskets in training.
Now in 2018 I am surprised what about the Arena is not yet refurbished, and re-launched, to playing again open-air, between the sea marine smell, and the strident sound of the passing train.
ROSETO, six letters of sympathy, a tradition that repeats itself, a tradition that is perpetuated. Today there are luxury hotels, today we arrive on the highway. Once it took a whole day, there were makeshift arrangements, but even then, it was a good thing, like at a party. The good nature of the people, the competence of the spectators, the always valid cast of the teams made the tournament, even in heroic times, the event not to be missed, the event not to be missed, he wrote Aldo Giordani, on magazine Superbasket, July 1973.