Many people know Mike D’Antoni is presently the head coach of the NBA’s Houston Rocket but what many forget is that Mike got his start as a basketball player. The former basketball player played the game professionally from 1973 till 1990 and has been coaching since 1990 till present. He earned the nickname Arsene Lupin due to his ability to steal the ball. This serves as a testament to what a great player he was.
With his vast coaching experience, having worked with several teams, he has earned the NBA Coach of the Year Award twice. Here’s everything to know about the NBA coach, Mike D’Antoni.
Mike D’Antoni’s Biography
Michael Andrew D’Antoni, who was born on the 8th of May 1951, is an Italian-American, who grew up in the city of Mullens, West Virginia. He attended Mullens High School before going on to Marshall University, Huntington for his college education. While in high school, he was already interested in basketball and the trend continued till college where he played for the Marshall Thundering Herd Men’s Basketball team for three years.
He was drafted by the NBA in 1973 after college and he went on to play professionally for several teams both in the NBA and American Basketball Association (ABA). He was later signed by ‘Olimpia Milano’, an Italian team, where he became the top scorer for the club, helping the club win five Italian League titles. Nearing the end of his playing career, Mike D’Antoni was shortlisted to play on the senior men’s Italian national team for the Eurobasket tournament in Yugoslavia in 1989.
He began his career as a coach in 1990 with Olimpia Milano. After four seasons, he moved on to coach another Italian team, Benetton Treviso. His first NBA coaching job was in 1997 with the Denver Nuggets.
By 2002, he became an assistant coach working with Phoenix Suns and the following year, he became the head coach. He was an influential coach, known for placing values on three-point scores. It was while on this job that he earned the NBA Coach of the Year Award. In 2006, Mike D’Antoni was a part of the coaching staff for the USA Olympic Basketball team as well as the 2006 FIBA World Championship with a bronze medal to show for it.
His coaching career also took him to New York Knicks but he resigned on the 14th of March, 2012. In the same year, he returned to the USA Team as an assistant coach for the 2012 London Summer Olympics. He also worked with Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers. On the 1st of June, 2016, he was named the head coach of the Houston Rockets.
A professional twist to this seasoned coach is that he has co-authored two books Playmaker with Dan Peterson and Vivendo Giacando with Tullio Lauro.
Mike D’Antoni has garnered years of experience working with both Italian and American basketball teams. As a result, the seasoned basketball coach has a net worth of $12 million. This is the accumulation of his salaries and bonuses which are also a big part of his income.
Mike D’Antoni’s Wife
Laurel D’Antoni (nee Liebel) is the wife of Houston Rockets Coach, Mike D’Antoni. Laurel, before her marriage to Mike, was a fashion model who was recruited by the Ford Modelling agency. For this reason, she shuttled between Manhattan, Tokyo, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. In 1984, she met Mike D’Antoni and they started going out to watch games together. By 1986, the pair got married and are parents of an only child, a son, Michael Alexander.
In 1990, she retired from modeling to take up a sports segment on Italian TV. She soon stopped the programme and became comfortable with being a wife and mother. She also got involved in community charity with her family and the Rockets Team at large, providing help to others in the neighborhood they reside in.
Mike D’Antoni was born to Lewis and Betty Jo D’Antoni in Mullens, West Virginia. He was very close to his father who supported his career. Lewis was also a basketball coach, a high school principal and a member of the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. His mother was an assistant county clerk. In 2017, he lost his father who died at the age of 103. Mike stated that though his father’s death was expected, he still felt pained.
Mike has a dual citizenship, having roots in America and Italy. This explains his fluency in speaking English and Italian. He became the first Italian to lead an NBA team.
Mike has an older brother, Joseph “Dan” D’Antoni. Like Mike, he was also a basketball player but is currently the head coach of his college basketball team, Marshall Thundering Herd Men’s basketball team. Both brothers, like their father, are members of West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. Dan D’Antoni worked as an assistant to his brother, Mike, on several teams including Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers.
In 2014, he was announced the new head coach of Thundering Herd Men’s Basketball. Dan is married to Vanessa D’Antoni and they have three sons – Matt, Andrew and Nick, and a daughter, Morgan.