Mike D’Antoni: Quick Facts About The Basketball Coach

Mike D’Antoni

Mike D’Antoni is currently the assistant coach for the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Here’s a quick look at his life and career: 

Mike D’Antoni: Mini Bio

Who is Mike D’Antoni?


Although he began his coaching career in 1990, it was the year 2002 that D’Antoni made his return to the NBA(he was coaching The Denver Nuggets) as a Phoenix Suns assistant under Frank Johnson. In 2003, he replaced Johnson as head coach of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and he won NBA Coach of the Year honors for the 2004–05 NBA season. Despite the team’s failure to improve in the second half of the season, received a vote of confidence for producing an inspired play from the injury-riddled team. With the acquisition of Steve Nash, an incredible turnaround began for the team. Nash was experienced in the run-and-gun style from his previous stints with the Dallas Mavericks and the Suns. He excelled running D’Antoni’s pick-and-roll offense which led to the NBA Coach of the Year. 

After this success, he coached the New York Knicks starting in 2008 before resigning in 2012. 

He was a coach for the Olympics:

Before he began his NBA coaching for Denver Nuggets, Phoenix or joining the Lakers, D’Antoni served as an assistant coach under Mike Krzyzewski on the gold medal-winning US Men’s National Basketball Team during the 2012 London Olympics. 

In his second term with the Men’s Senior National Team, D’Antoni was also an assistant coach for Team USA’s gold medal run at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. 

Mike D’Antoni Career: 

  • An ex-NBA player was hired by the Lakers after seven games into the 2012–13 season. 
  • Before joining the Rockets in 2016, D’Antoni was named the 24th head coach of the Lakers in 2012. 
  • Hired to become the 24th head coach in Knicks franchise history on May 13, 2008, D’Antoni guided the 2010-11 team to their first winning season since 2000-01. Prior to joining the Knicks, D’Antoni spent five seasons with the Phoenix Suns (2003-08), compiling a 253-136 (.650) overall record. 
  • After a year of scouting for the San Antonio Spurs, he joined the Portland Trail Blazers, where he served one season as an assistant coach (2000-01) before returning to coach one final season in Italy (2001-02). Here, he was a coach for seven years from 1990-97. 

Playing Overseas:

D’Antoni was contracted by the Italian team Olimpia Milano, starting a career that saw him become the club’s all-time leading scorer. He won the most votes for the Italian LBA league’s top point guard of all time in 1990, and paced his team to five Italian League titles, two FIBA European Champions Cup (now called EuroLeague) titles, two Italian Cups, one FIBA Korać Cup, and one FIBA Intercontinental Cup.

While playing in Italy, D’Antoni earned the nickname “Il Baffo” (Italian for “The Mustache”), in reference to his ever-present facial hair. He also earned the nickname “Arsène Lupin” because of his ability to steal the ball. In 2015, Olimpia Milano retired his No. 8 jersey, in order to honor him.

As he had Italian heritage, D’Antoni was also selected to play on the senior men’s Italian national team for the EuroBasket tournament in 1989.

When did Mike D’Antoni start coaching for the NBA?

He made his NBA head coaching debut with the Denver Nuggets during the lockout shortened 1998-99 season. Although he began coaching in 1990, he joined the NBA 8 years later by joining the Nuggets as Director of Player Personnel for the 1997-98 campaign, in his lone season on the bench with the Nuggets, he posted a 14-36 (.280) overall record. 

Mike D’Antoni was a player in the NBA: 

D’Antoni played for four years in the NBA as a player with the Kansas City-Omaha Kings and San Antonio Spurs (3.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 1.9 apg, 130 games) and another 13 playing in Italy. 

Under the Italian team, D’Antoni was voted the Italian League’s all-time greatest point guard in 1990 following a career that saw him become Milan’s all-time leading scorer and lead the team to five Italian League titles, two Cups of Europe, two Cups of Italy, one Korac Cup and one Intercontinental Cup. 

He was also chosen to play basketball matches for the Italian national team for the European Championships in 1989 and part of the Milan team that competed in the inaugural McDonald’s Open in 1987.


On May 7, 2017, D’Antoni and Erik Spoelstra( head coach for the Miami Heat) both were recipients of the inaugural Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award, and one month later, he won the NBA Coach of the Year Award.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *