What screams I'm new to Dallas
Interview with Nicolo Melli from the Dallas Mavericks: "I shivered when Michael Jordan presented me with the award"
Nicolo Melli was sent to the Dallas Mavericks by the New Orleans Pelicans for the trade deadline in late March. In an interview with SPOX the 30-year-old reveals how he experienced the first trade of his life. Melli also talks about Luka Doncic, Zion Williamson and a meeting with Michael Jordan.
Inter fan Melli explains what excited him most about the Super League discussion and why Ronaldo will always be his favorite player.
Nicolo, you are known to be a huge Inter fan. The lead on Atalanta up Rank two amounts to eleven pIn the series A, nothing can go wrong.
Nicolo Melli: (laughs) Stop it, stop it. Please do not talk about the current season. We're almost there, but I don't want to be happy too soon.
Okay, let's talk about the inter past then.
Melli: We can do that with pleasure. Preferably about Ronaldo. Ronaldo was my favorite player. Ronaldo was my hero. Because of him and because of my mother (former national volleyball player, editor's note), at the beginning of my career I also had the number 9 on my back. Once I was lucky enough to see Ronaldo live in the stadium. I will always remember that. Seeing him play live was an incredible experience.
With Romelu Lukaku has Inter currently a very special striker again.
Melli: That's true. Lukaku isn't that bad either, but Ronaldo is Ronaldo. For me he is simply the best, nobody can get close to him.
Inter was briefly part of the now legendary Super League. How much did you hear about the football earthquake in the USA?
Melli: I've been following it. I found the way the news came out and the way it all went very strange. They were extremely ill-prepared for resistance from fans, coaches and players. I understand that the owners of football clubs in Europe are jealous of the NFL and the NBA in the US. Most of the money is made there, and that's what they want. And football in Europe is no longer a healthy business. The owners lose a lot of money. So I can understand why they want to change something. But of course the path is completely wrong. But what excites me most about it is something else.
Melli on Super League experience in basketball
You're probably thinking of the parallels between basketball and the for years Dispute between FIBA and the EuroLeague.
Melli: Exactly. I hate this argument. I hate arguments between different organizations that put us players in a difficult position. We then sit between the chairs and are trapped there. A few years ago I personally saw that the dispute between FIBA and the EuroLeague meant that I couldn't play for the national team. That was bad for me. And now the dispute between UEFA and the Super League would have meant that players could not be at the EM. What shoud that? We are the players. We want to play for our club and for our national team. We don't want to be a pawn in such a dispute. That does not work like this. But I also want to say that I am basically always ready for a discussion about change. We need this discussion.
In the NBA, there is a play-in tournament for the playoffs for the first time this season. Do you like that?
Melli: I think it's good that we're trying something new, yes. Of course, I understood the outcry and the protests of the fans against the Super League, but we also have to be careful not to shut ourselves off from innovation. Yes, the Super League was not the right solution, but it still needs a solution. Everything cannot stay as it is. This is not going to work. Regardless of whether it's football or the NBA: We have to keep up with the times. We have to think of the younger fans, of course. On platforms like TikTok. Everything is getting faster and faster and we have to stay attractive. You mentioned the play-in tournament. I think it's an exciting idea, now let's see how it goes. And then you can optimize it again for the next season if necessary.
Melli on the trade: "Dallas was never mentioned"
At the moment they are Mavs in the west in sixth place. You've been with the team for a relatively short time since the New Orleans trade. What is your impression so far?
Melli: I honestly have to admit that I haven't yet fully understood how the team works and how it works. It seems like we're doing a lot easier against the top teams in the league than against the weaker teams we're supposed to beat. That's my impression. I don't know why that is. But I know that we have a lot of potential.
You have been traded for the first time in your life. What was that experience?
Melli: It was definitely an exciting experience. The two hours the trade happened were pretty intense and exciting. My agent called me and told me about a possible trade, but it was about a completely different team than the Mavs. Suddenly he calls back a few minutes later and explains to me that this trade will not work after all. Suddenly Dallas was involved. And before that, Dallas had never been mentioned. It was all pretty crazy. My wife and I had to pack our things within two days and then we got to Dallas. But I have to say that I am very happy here. The Mavs are a top organization, we have a top coach, the team is great, Dallas is a beautiful city, we already have a nice apartment - I'm satisfied. And now I can concentrate on finding my role in the team.
After such successful years in Europe, you moved to the NBA in New Orleans before last season. But this season has been bad for you. What was going on?
Melli: That's a good question, I don't know. Usually you have a more difficult first year with less playing time and things get better in the second year. For me it was exactly the other way around. In the first year, after having to find my way around in the first few months, I ended up standing on the field for 25 minutes per game. It went really well for me. It was clear to me that I would have a completely different and much smaller role than in Europe, but it all worked out. But this season I haven't played in New Orleans at all. I was not expecting that. That was weird for me too. As a player, you just want to play, everyone will understand that. And if you play irregularly or not at all, it is of course very difficult to get into a rhythm.
Melli: "That's awesome. Luka is just awesome"
You are now playing with Luka Doncic in a team. European basketball fans will love the EuroLeague- Remember the 2018 final when you played big for Fenerbahce (28 points), Doncic but still won the final with Real.
Melli: Thank you for reminding me. Luka does that all the time. (laughs) That defeat is an open wound on me to this day, but it is what it is. Real were the better team in the final at the time, they deserved to win. I have to live with that. In any case, I am very happy to have Luka on my side now, believe me. Luka is a stunning player.
We think of his circus buzzerBeater recently in Memphis.
Melli: The cool thing is that I've seen things like that in training a lot since I've been in Dallas. Luka meets these litters regularly. That's crazy. Luka is just amazing.
What do you find particularly fascinating about him?
Melli: I am particularly impressed by two points. On the one hand, its lightness. Luka always makes everything look so simple. You can see his brutal natural talent there. And the second point is that every second you see and feel how much he is enjoying his life. How much he enjoys being Luka. He loves what he does so much. That’s really cool to see aside from his skills. I don't know whether he will one day go down in history as the best European. We had too many great players for that. But he will surely be one of the best. It is quite possible that he is currently one of the five best players in the NBA.
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