IAP 271: The Long-Forgotten Italian American Phenom Who Gave March Its 'Madness,' the Tale of Angelo-Giuseppi "Hank" Luisetti
Play • 49 min

As winter begins to thaw, and the start of spring arrives, a certain segment of the American population usually begins to experience a familiar type of “madness” as the second most popular sporting event of the year hits the airwaves. But did you know that college basketball might not annually grip the nation with “March Madness” had it not been for an Italian American? And chances are his is a name you’ve probably never heard of!

This week’s guest, Mike DeLucia, tells us the story of Angelo-Giuseppi “Hank” Luisetti, the 1930s Stanford University superstar who pioneered many of the moves we see on the courts today, from stylized dribbling to the one-handed shot!

In his book, “Madness: The Man Who Changed Basketball," Mike tells readers why Luisetti could —and perhaps should—be considered the greatest basketball player who ever lived.

Mike tells us about Luisetti’s career, as a phenom during the years of the Great Depression, explains why Luisetti’s name isn’t as well-known today as it should be, and shares his own author's journey to reconstruct this lost icon’s story.

We’ll also look at the role of sports in the Italian American experience and find out why so many stories of pioneering Italian American athletes are lost to time and what we can do about bringing them to light.

If you’re ready for some March Madness, Italian American style, you won’t want to miss this episode!

This episode is sponsored by Mediaset Italia.

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