HANGTIME SOUTHWEST – We all know athletes love to pull the “taken-out-of-context” card when something they say hits print or cyberspace and causes a stir.
And that’s when they’re English-speaking Americans.
So did Toronto Raptors 7-footer Andrea Bargnani really say this to an Italian publication?: “We are pretty much the worst team in the NBA.”
UPDATE: On Saturday, Bargnani claimed that he was misquoted. However, the Italian journalist who interviewed Bargnani said that is not the case.
Apparently, Bargnani hasn’t watched the Washington Wizards.
OK, so that was an unnecessary potshot. There’s nothing funny about how hot the seat of Raptors coach Dwane Casey has become in the early stages of his second season. Casey, by nature, is a calm soul and he immediately told everyone to settle down, that the Bargnani quotes just might be a case of language-barrier word tricks that foul up the translation.
“When I read it, it doesn’t sound like some of the words are Andrea’s English, first of all, so I’m sure some of it was lost in translation,” Casey told reporters. “I’ll ask him about it. Every guy has his right to his own opinion, I don’t monitor guys’ opinions or what they say.
“Me personally, I would be very careful how I would interpret that, because we’ve all traveled and I’ve seen some crazy articles come out. A lot of it’s lost in translation. I don’t know what his intentions are or what he meant by his statement, but I’ll ask him.”
It wouldn’t be the first time an overseas newspaper, perhaps unintentionally, exaggerated a story or delivered in translation some variance on the subject’s actual meaning or context.
Here’s how the newspaper, La Gazetta dello Sport, translated Bargnani’s statements about his club:
“Nothing has worked from the beginning of the season. We are pretty much the worst team in the NBA. This summer’s moves in the market were made to build a winning team, but we are not winning.
“We are below all of the expectations. No one is used to playing with anyone. We have won four games: it’s a tragic thing. Whatever way you look at it, it is a desperate situation. Since four years ago, we have kept losing. To improve, the only thing we can do is to win, and for now, we have not.”
Bargnani, 27, has taken plenty of grief in Toronto as a scapegoat for the team’s ongoing struggles, and the former No. 1 draft pick is a frequent trending topic on the rumor mill. He wasn’t on the floor Friday night for the Raptors’ resounding 95-74 victory over the visiting Dallas Mavericks because of a torn ligament in his right elbow and a strained right wrist sustained Monday night at Portland. He could be out for more than a month.
The win snapped Toronto’s six-game losing skid and got the Raps just their fifth win in 24 games.
Casey’s beleaguered club will continue to try to turn things around, to string together some wins and make their perimeter-shooting big man eat his words.
If, indeed, they really were his.