Italian NBA player Andrea Bargnani plays for the NBA’s only Canadian team, the Toronto Raptors. The Team Canada Head Coach, Leo Rautins, is the play by play man for the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors this summer acquired the NBA swingman Marco Belinelli from the Golden State Warriors. The Raptors Assistant General Manager is Italian basketball super manager Mauricio Gherardini.
So with all of those basketball connections between Canada and the Italians it makes sense to play each other in some friendly exhibition matches before the World Championships in Turkey next summer right? Canada is also preparing for the FIBA Americas Championship which begins Aug. 26 in Puerto Rico.
Well, after the events that occurred in the exhibition match between the two countries this past Saturday in Italy, maybe that’s not such a great idea. A bench clearing brawl broke out with many players from both teams getting ejected. The entire melee seemed to begin with a seemingly harmless and inadvertent bump from Canada’s Aaron Doornekamp on Italy’s Mancinelli.
Mancinelli lost his cool and then sucker punched Doornekamp when he had his back turned. The Canadians didn’t take too kindly to that, and immediately came to his defense. From there both benches cleared and even the two Head Coaches seemed to have some heated words. Looks like these two teams may need a cooling off period before any more “friendly exhibition games” are scheduled: