It's been hard not to like the 203cm Italian, Luigi Datome
Until recently, my life contained very little Gigi, and I was fine with that.
A few weeks ago, Luigi Datome was traded to the Boston Celtics. My initial scouting report was brief.
ME: Hey. That guy has a beard.
Of course, other NBA players do too, but I'm still not used to long crops of facial hair on professional ballers. Call me a profiler, but it just doesn't seem very athletic.
Seem less like they should be negotiating a pick and roll and more like they should be cutting me a cord of wood.
That being said, I felt no temptation to get attached. As has been the custom around here, players don't seem to stick around long. The likelihood was that he wouldn't be worth getting attached to, like a red-shirted Star Trek ensign, beaming briefly to another location before quickly being "written off".
But a curious affection has emerged in my heart over the last week. I am a fan of Luigi Datome.
Sure, the man has got some run in a couple of games and proven himself useful in both, but my appreciation is less for his productivity and more for the evidence of the right attitude - perhaps some Celtics Pride.
After sitting on the bench for most of two seasons with Detroit, Datome has embraced his new start in green. He hasn't come making demands or threatening buyouts. Of course, one might say he'd have no leverage, but as the following highlights display and his multiple awards reveal, Luigi is no slouch.
His willingness to celebrate the team's wins and not lament his lack of contribution stands out among the entitlement mentality of a Keith Bogans, the apathy of a Larry Sanders or the ridiculousness of an Andrew Bynam.
From early observations, Luigi seems as excited to battle alongside the Celtics as I would. For this reason, seeing him get some time on the court and produce seems right - someone who evidently works hard and is absent from distraction.
The unfortunate reality is I do not know what the future holds. What if I fall further in love and he leaves? He is a restricted free agent at the end of this season, so who knows if we'll have him for more than 20 or so games?
And maybe I won't care. Despite the impressiveness of his attitude, it's talent and not congeniality that win in this league. If he finishes out this campaign with 5 turnovers per game and 20.0% from the floor, this large Italian might be easily forgotten.
Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images