There was a time when it looked like Paolo Banchero of the Orlando Magic would play for Team Italy in the FIBA World Cup.
But Banchero ultimately decided to suit up for America and is now set to face off against Italy in Tuesday’s win-or-go-home game.
And he doesn’t have anything to say to the Italian fanbase who once supported him.
According to a video from Eurohoops, Banchero had nothing to say to Italy’s fans.
This is quite the change for Banchero and a sign that he is laser-focused on winning for the USA.
— Eurohoops (@Eurohoopsnet) September 4, 2023
Last year, Banchero verbally committed to playing for the Italian national basketball team.
The reigning Rookie of the Year holds dual citizenship in America and Italy, as his father, Mario, is of Italian descent.
When Banchero chose to play for the American team, many Italian fans were outraged and felt betrayed.
Once ready to root for him, the Italian fans were now ready to root against him.
Banchero is clearly determined to win big against Italy and isn’t paying attention to the fans or really anything but victory.
It’s a smart mindset to be in because Italy is going to be a tough opponent.
The team is 4-1 in the World Cup, just like America.
However, the good news for Team USA is that Team Italy only got this far because of a series of close victories.
That means they have almost lost repeatedly, while America has had a few more blowout wins.
There will be quite a few disgruntled Italian fans in the crowd during the big game but Banchero will ignore them and keep his focus set firmly on keeping his team in the tournament.NEXT: Dwight Howard Reveals Which NBA Team He Wants To Retire With