Many people know that Mike D’Antoni is currently the head coach of the NBA Houston Rocket, but what many people forget is that Mike started out as a basketball player. The former basketball player played the game professionally from 1973 to 1990 and has been a coach since 1990 until today. He earned the nickname Arsene Lupin because of his ability to steal the ball. This is a testimony to what a great player he was.
With his vast experience as a coach, gained in various teams, he was twice named NBA Coach of the Year. Here you can find everything you need to know about NBA Coach Mike D’Antoni.
Mike D’Antoni’s Biography
Michael Andrew D’Antoni, born on May 8, 1951, is an Italian-American who grew up in the city of Mullens, West Virginia. He attended Mullens High School before going to Marshall University in Huntington for his college education. He became interested in basketball while still in high school, and the trend continued through college, where he played for the Marshall Thundering Herd Men’s basketball team for three years.
After college, he was drafted into the NBA in 1973 and then played professionally for several teams in both the NBA and the American Basketball Association (ABA). He was later signed by “Olimpia Milano”, an Italian team, where he became the club’s top scorer and helped the club win five Italian league titles. Towards the end of his playing career, Mike D’Antoni was shortlisted to play in the Italian men’s senior national team for the 1989 Eurobasket Tournament in Yugoslavia.
He began his career as a trainer in 1990 with Olimpia Milano. After four seasons he changed to the coach of another Italian team, Benetton Treviso. He had his first job as an NBA coach in 1997 with the Denver Nuggets.
In 2002 he became an assistant coach at Phoenix Suns and the following year he became head coach. He was an influential coach who was known for putting values on three points. During this time he received the NBA Coach of the Year Award. In 2006 Mike D’Antoni was on the coaching staff of the US Olympic basketball team and the 2006 FIBA World Championship, which he finished with a bronze medal.
His coaching career also took him to the New York Knicks, but he resigned on March 14, 2012. In the same year, he returned to the USA team as an assistant coach for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. He also worked with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers. On June 1, 2016, he was appointed head coach of the Houston Rockets.
A professional twist on this experienced coach is the fact that he has written two books with Dan Peterson entitled “Playmaker” and two books with Tullio Lauro entitled “Vivendo Giacando”.
Mike D’Antoni has years of experience working with Italian and American basketball teams. Therefore, the experienced basketball coach has net assets of 12 million dollars. This is the accumulation of his salaries and bonuses, which also make up a large part of his income.
Mike D’Antoni’s Wife
Laurel D’Antoni (née Liebel) is the wife of Houston Rockets Coach, Mike D’Antoni. Before her marriage to Mike, Laurel was a fashion model recruited by the Ford Modeling agency. For this reason, she commuted between Manhattan, Tokyo, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. In 1984 she met Mike D’Antoni and they started to watch games together. They married in 1986 and are parents of an only child, a son, Michael Alexander.
In 1990 she retired from modeling to take over a sports segment on Italian television. Soon she finished the program and felt comfortable being a wife and mother. In addition, she and her family and the Rocket team, in general, were involved in community charities and helped others in the neighborhood where they lived.
Mike D’Antoni was born in Mullens, West Virginia, the son of Lewis and Betty Jo D’Antoni. He was very close to his father, who supported his career. Lewis was also a basketball coach, principal of a high school, 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 although his father’s death was expected, he was still in pain.
Mike holds dual citizenship and has roots in America and Italy. This explains his fluency in English and Italian. He was the first Italian to lead an NBA team.
Mike has an older brother, Joseph “Dan” D’Antoni. Like Mike, he was a basketball player but is currently the head coach of his college basketball team, the Marshall Thundering Herd Men’s basketball team. Both brothers, like their father, are members of the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. Dan D’Antoni worked as an assistant to his brother Mike on several teams, including the Phoenix Suns, the New York Knicks, and the Los Angeles Lakers.
In 2014, he was named 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.