Marco Belinelli is First Italian to Play in NBA Finals

Wed, 06/04/2014 - 03:54

Marco Belinelli will be the first Italian basketball player to compete in the NBA finals.

The guard of the San Antonio Spurs will play against the Miami Heat for the NBA championship, with Game One taking place on June 5 at 9 pm ET.

“I’m speechless,” Belinelli said to Italian media. “When I was a child, I stayed up all night to watch the NBA finals with my brother, and now I’m going to play them.”

Back in February, Belinelli set another Italian record when he won the Three-Point Contest at NBA All-Star, becoming the first Italian to ever do so. He scored an impressive 24 points in the tiebreaker final round against Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal.

Belinelli was born in the small town of San Giovanni in Persiceto, in the province of Bologna. Prior to his NBA career, he played for Italy's Virtus Bologna and Fortituto Bologna in the Italian Lega A and the Euroleague. He is 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in) tall and plays as a shooting guard. He was selected 18th overall in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors. He then played with the Toronto Raptors, New Orleans Hornets, Chicago Bulls, before signing with the San Antonio Spurs in 2013.

Watch highlights from Belinelli's NBA career: