Some decades have passed, but the memory of almond trees fields is still very much alive in my mind. Fields that filled our land with many, old trees...
Fortune favors the brave, they say and, when it comes, you can’t say “No”. The “Buona Fortuna” - as called by Italians - helped Sergio Cerbone, an Italian professional from Milan, realize some of his dreams but it took some good efforts and persistence to make all of them happen at the same time.
In 2013, when he turned 35, Sergio had his first chance: he finally got a job in the United States through an Italian company based in San Francisco. Work and friends kept him quite busy, but he could not give up one of his passions: watching the NBA. And he could not choose any other season better than the 2015 one. Throughout the entire year, following and writing about the Golden State Warriors Team have become - together with work - an important moment of his daily life: not only going to the Oracle Arena in Oakland to attend their games, Sergio also made many interviews and wrote articles with analysis and stories for an Italian website. Called Basketissimo.com, the online website could give Italian fans a closer perspective to NBA games and players through Sergio’s eyes. Nevertheless, at the end of the season, while the Warriors won the NBA title again after 40 years, another dream turned into reality for Sergio: he managed to publish his first book, called WARRIOR. The book is a series of stories about Sergio’s exciting journey, from his first match on court with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker to the NBA final played in 2015 between Cleveland and Golden State.
Tell us a bit of how you became a basketball fan...
It was a boring summer in 1993 and there was nothing interesting on TV. While I was zapping, I run into what became the first NBA game I watched, between the Bulls, with Michael Jordan, and the Phoenix Suns. Watching the best basketball player in history (Jordan) was an unforgettable experience. Since then, I have not missed any NBA final. And living in the US does not require to wake up in the middle of the night to do so and that is great!
When did you move to the US and why?
I left Italy two years ago because I have always enjoyed the US as a tourist. Finally, in December 2013, I got my opportunity to work and live in California.
“Warrior” is a book about the Golden State Warriors. Tell us why did you come up with the idea of writing it.
2015 has been a great year for me. As a freelance journalist, I’ve covered the Golden State Warriors’ games as well as the Finals for Basketissimo.com, a popular Italian website that talks about basket and also NBA. The Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship last season and I had the privilege to witness many behind-the-scene stories. Keeping a collection of events during the year pushed me to write a book that has now being published. “Warrior. Milan-San Francisco with an NBA title” is also my story, the story of a kid who dreams of moving to the United States and he is not only able to do so but, once there, he finds his way to experience the NBA games courtside.
What’s the difference between watching NBA and Italian Basket?
NBA basketball is more physical and fast. But the difference that I liked to share with Italian fans is that, in America, the audience can take part - somehow - to the game. Fans are as passionate as the Italian ones but there are no hard feelings toward other teams’ fans or opposite teams’ players. I think the US have a better culture for sports and fans just want to enjoy the events. In Italy, sometimes fans are frustrated with issues of their lives and maybe express them during games, sometimes in a brutal and violent way, which is opposite to what sports are meant for.
You have watched Steph Curry many times. How is watching the best player of the NBA?
He’s absolutely phenomenal. He does things on the court that other player can just dream to do. He’s a very complete player and watching him shooting is a very entertaining show: he can score from all distances!
The book also fundraises money for kids in sports.
Yes, correct. Part of what I’ll be earning from selling this book will be donated to SlumsDunk.org, which is a foundation aiming to improve lives of children and youth living in marginalized areas and small communities in Africa, by giving access to basketball courts and supporting life skills.
Warrior is now available for purchase on Amazon both in the US and Italy.