My colleague Dario Destri has published an article about Mike James with his thoughts and opinions about him leaving Olimpia Milano this week. I wanted to translate this outstanding article in English for our international readers. Since there are many words hanging in the air about James leaving Olimpia Milano, no one would ever know what happened exactly between Messina and James. In this basketball world it has been always like this and it will be always like this because since the bitterness that Olimpia fans are feeling we can not imagine what type of bitterness or unsure feelings are going on inside the Italian basketball club after loosing a player like James. People can call him egoist or self-seeking player but people who call him in this way has also gloomy feeling because of loosing a great player and seeing him leaving Olimpia Milano…
Here is the article of Destri;
” Mike James’s adventure with Olimpia Milano has officially ended. A complicated story, made of crazy emotions and plays, but also lot of bitterness and it was out of place.
Since the arrival of Messina his role has always been under discussion, but he seemed to be able to remain in virtue of a terrifying talent, yet with the signature of Shelvin Mack here are the “not very elegant” comments by James and the consequent release regarding his future.
One thing must be said clearly and without any doubt: it is a purely legitimate choice, which falls perfectly within the powers of President of Ettore Messina, who from the first minute has made it clear that he is in Milan also, if not above all, for this management power.
So when you completely trust a person like Ettore Messina you have to be ready for strong choices, but above all to accept them. The message is clear: it is a new course, no one looks in the face. Not even Mike James.
Legitimate choice and probably become mandatory after the utterances in which you were referring to an unfulfilled promise of the coach. Here, however, we enter the gray areas, and what James and Messina have said are only known by James and Messina and it is difficult to judge without knowing the version of the former Spurs (it will be interesting to ask at the first seasonal press conference) but it is evident that the relationship was irreparably broken.
It must also be said that the social releases of the Portland native player did not help at all, and these attitudes Messina bears them little, and probably also took them as a provocation of a player from the ego as great as his talent. From there a decision that I feel I can define correctly afterwards.
A correct decision, however, does not mean that it does not hurt, indeed, the bitter aftertaste is strong. Perhaps the strongest ever experienced before in the Armani era.
Let’s talk about it clearly, Mike James is dominant. The talent is crazy and the qualities seen in the field are one of the highest of Euroleague range. Difficult to forget the “MVP MVP” choirs, the Buzzer against Efes, the passages between the legs for Gudaitis or the raises for Tarczewski. Genius and recklessness, like almost all great phenomena, difficult to control.
And perhaps the problem is right here, controlling a player like that instead of leaving him adrift in an omnipotence for his own sake. It is easy to say “play little team” (but the assists were many) or “is selfish want to solve it alone” (the De Colo and company are not so?), But a great truth was said by Andrea Cinciarini at the gathering of the national to the microphones of Fabio Cavagnera:
“Mike is a person that should be understood, certain things have been asked from him and he has done those certain things.”
As if to say, he was told to take those initiatives, he was given white cards and he obeyed, “victim” (in so many quotation marks, because the responsibilities are always shared) of a technical situation that has been getting worse in the failed management of Simone Pianigiani, who probably did nothing but exalt the defects by diminishing the immense merits.
There is nothing to say, a very bitter pill, because the idea of seeing such a talent in the hands of such a coach is one of those things that makes you shiver down your spine. But the beautiful ones, that make you say “but what are we seeing?”. A great lost of an opportunity, even if perfectly understandable. A What If.
But Messina has clearly chosen a team devoted to functionality and defense, on which there are doubts, as on every roster, but to analyse this, we have many weeks ahead.
In the meantime, despite a bitter closure, thanks to Mike James, because the things I saw this year (born in 1987, so far from living the great Olimpia) with this shirt I have not seen them done by anyone else. “
We got some comments by basketball people about this story and the most significant sounded like this:: «It’s a challenge with strong feelings but it’s sure Mike will be the most motivated player all over the continent». We definitely agree.
Eurodevotion Team wishes MJ an amazing season, as we do with all the players, with one of the best coach of Euroleague who is Dimitris Itoudis and we are looking forward to interview him anywhere in Europe about his seasonal career. It’s a big challenge for an outstanding coach and a player who dominated Euroleague Basketball until mid of march being the main reason why Olimpia was in the Playoff contention almost all season long. We can’t wait to live this challenge two months ahead of the start of a season that’s already looking like the best ever in Europe.
Good Luck Superman !