BASKETBALL - MARIELLA SANTUCCI
Enthralled by the world of basketball at the age of four whilst watching her sister practice, Mariella Santucci’s career path in the sport was set the moment she interrupted and grabbed the ball. A big personality with the talent to match and having been with the Toledo Rockets for four seasons, the Bolognese basketballer acknowledges the doubts she faced before becoming a professional player and how social media has changed perceptions of women in sport.
Tell us about yourself?
Hey, about myself I can say that I’m an athlete but not only an athlete. I like to watch and play different sports and I also like to read, paint, and do puzzles. I love to spend time with my family and friends, and I love to travel around the world.
When did you first get into basketball?
I start practicing basketball when I was 4 years old, because my dad and my sister were playing basketball and I was always at the gym. One day while I was 4 years old and I was watching my sister practicing, I decided to interrupt her practice and I started playing with the ball too. That is where it all began
What's the best thing your sport has taught you?
The game has taught me a lot but the best thing that it has taught me is to never doubt myself and always dream big. That there are going to be ups and downs but it’s worth it.
What advice do you have for young girls that want to get into sprinting or sports in general?
My advice to young girls that want to get into basketball is to work hard but have fun while doing it and to always believe in themselves no matter what.
What sporting achievement are you most proud of?
Make it to the national team and winning the championship my first year of college.
Do you remember the moment you realized athletics could be a career for you?
The moment I realized it could be a career for me it was when I went to college to attend the 4 years. I was waking up every day going to practice thinking that this could really become my dream job.
As a woman did you ever have doubts about becoming a professional athlete? What changed your mind?
I had doubts because I didn’t know playing basketball could be a job for me and that I would have ever make it but then I saw many professional players that was doing it and it became an inspiration for me. I changed my mind thanks to seeing many women athletes making it.
Do you think women in basketball receive enough representation/ recognition in society? If not, what do you think would help achieve a more equal level of representation?
I think women in sport should receive more representation and recognition in society. I think what could help would be showing games on tv and social media but also let women athletes talk about their experiences, and their careers, that could also be an inspiration to the youth and everybody else.
How has social media, in your opinion, helped to change the perception of women’s professional sport?
Social media has helped change the perception of female athletes because it gave the opportunity to every women athlete to be seen and to connect with fans and to inspire younger athletes and people around the world.
If you could, what’s one thing you would change about your sport from a woman’s perspective?
I don’t think I would change anything about the sport I play because I love it.