A Guide to the Italy Men’s Basketball Team

09 Aug 2023


The Italy men’s basketball team, commonly known as "gli Azzurri" (the Blues), are one of the eight FIBA co-founder nations. Throughout the side’s long and proud history, they’ve claimed two Olympic silver medals and 10 FIBA EuroBasket medals, including two golds. However, they’ve never won a medal at the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Having missed qualification to 4 of the last 5 Summer Olympics before finishing 5th at the 2020 Tokyo games, the Italians will be looking to make it to Paris as they get on the plane to Puerto Rico.

Keen to discover more about the Italy men’s basketball team? Check out this in-depth guide from the team at Courtside 1891. It includes details on the side’s greatest achievements, best players and FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 performance. 


2024 Olympics - Men's Basketball

With two silver medals at the Olympics in 1980 and the unforgettable Athens 2004 games, Italy are one of Europe's teams with  the most basketball tradition. Despite having a dip in the past 20 years, Italy has been a mainstay of Olympic basketball before 1988, and is looking to re-establish itself as they travel to Puerto Rico.

Pozzecco's team will have to make do without injured superstar Simone Fontecchio, who underwent a minor procedure in May due to an injury he sustained during the NBA regular season.

The 30-player roster announced by Gianmarco Pozzecco includes veteran Danilo Gallinari, one of the most successful Italian players ever, and many of the veterans that qualified for the Tokyo games.


How Did Italy Do At The FIBA World Cup 2023? 

​​Here are the top stats from Slovenia's FIBA Basketball World Cup campaign: 

  • Final Standing: 8th
  • Results: Played 8 Won 4 Lost 4 
  • Top Points Scorer: Simone Fontecchio 126 PTS (18 PPG)
  • Top Assist Provider: Marco Spissu 41 AST (5.1 APG)
  • Most Efficient Player: Simone Fontecchio 15 EPG

Italy entered the tournament with the goal of making the Quarter-Finals for the first time since 1998 and they did just that, going 4-1 during the group phases before defeat to the USA, followed by Latvia and Slovenia in the Classification Rounds saw the Azzurri exit with a 4-4 record. 

Following a breakout EuroBasket 2022, Simone Fontecchio was the star again for Italy, playing 7 games and scoring double-digit points in every contest. While his 3-ball wasn't always there (he shot 25% from deep during the tournament), he contributed in a variety of ways, including a winning 12-12 double-double against Puerto Rico. His best scoring game came against Serbia (30 PTS) in a win that set up a Quarter-Final with USA, which Italy didn't perform in, going down 63-100. Despite the subsequent disappointing results in the classification games (Fontechhio missed the Latvia game with illness), leading Italy to the last 8 was enough to earn Simone Fontecchio a spot on the All-Second Team. Check out Italy's big second-round win over Puerto Rico below.

Italy v Puerto Rico - 5-min Game

Team Presentation Video

Increase your knowledge about the Azzurri by watching our Team Discovery Video. This bite-size package will prime you with some of the best facts about the history of Italian Basketball.

Team Presentation - Italy - FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 

Current Star Players

Italy announced an extended 30-man roster for the 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments hat’s full of talent and enough experience to thrive in the big moments that matter. 

Italian fans will be surprised that Milwaukee Bucks veteran Danilo Gallinari was named in the squad. Gallinari built a reputation as a knock-down shooter around the NBA and in Europe with Olimpia Milano, but had not taken part in the FIBA World Cup 2023. 

The 16-year NBA veteran made waves overseas as he starred in Mike D'Antoni's "run and gun" New York Knicks team before being traded to the Denver Nuggets. Gallinari then spent 6 years in Colorado, scoring over 4500 points and featuring in 303 games for the Nuggets.

Joining Gallinari on Italy’s expanded roster was peripheral NBA-level point guard, Nico Mannion (22 years old), and former New Orleans Pelicans and Dallas Mavericks big man Nicolò Melli (32). Mannion is included in the list despite sitting out the latest World Cup ahead of moving to Saski Baskonia in Spain for the 2023/24 domestic season. He then moved back to Italy with Pallacanestro Varese, where he starred, averagin 20.3 ppg in his 18 games with the team.

Legends of the Team 

Many fine players have represented the Italian national team over the years, but one player above all has the international award recognition to claim to be the greatest, Gregor Fučka. 

Standing at more than 7 feet tall, he was a powerful forward with the ability to dominate the glass. Domestically, Fučka spent the entirety of his career in Europe, where he enjoyed spells in Yugoslavia, Italy and Spain. During this time, he won a host of titles, including the EuroLeague, the Italian League and the Spanish League.

On the international stage, Fučka won a silver medal at FIBA EuroBasket 1997 and he played at the 1998 FIBA World Championship, where he was selected to the All-Tournament Team. He established his legendary status in Italian basketball when he led Italy to the gold medal at FIBA EuroBasket 1999, scooping up the tournament’s MVP award. 

Historical World Cup Performance

In their nine appearances so far, the Italy basketball team have yet to claim a medal at the FIBA Basketball World Cup. To date, their best finish came in 1970 and 1978, when they lost the third-place playoff and came fourth on both occasions. 

Previous Successes and Tournament Wins

Basketball Italy have enjoyed a greater degree of success at the Olympic Games, where they’ve appeared on the podium twice. At both the 1980 and 2004 Olympics, the side claimed a silver medal. 

The side have also won 10 FIBA EuroBasket medals, including two gold medals, four silver medals and four bronze medals. They have a long history in the tournament, with their first appearance dating back to 1935. To date, they’ve appeared at the tournament on 38 occasions out of 41 editions.

How to Watch Italy Men's Basketball 

With Courtside 1891, worldwide fans can watch Italy compete in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (FOQTs) 2024. We stream every game of FIBA international tournaments as well as other competitions from around the world. 

As FIBA’s premium streaming partner for the World Cup, Courtside 1891 provided access to every 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup game! Watch the competition's biggest games and best moments on-demand on our FIBA Basketball World Cup page. 

The best way to make sure that you never miss a single second of the upcoming action is to download our app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play, or sign up to our website platform. Please be aware that, due to broadcasting rights and restrictions, access to some games might be restricted depending on your location. See our where-to-watch page for full details of upcoming competitions.

Looking for the latest results from the world of basketball? Head over to the Courtside 1891 Game Center. Here you’ll also find matchup times in your country as well as easy-to-access game highlights you can watch when you register with Courtside 1891.