Photo: FIBA

Ettore Messina’s remarks in the Italian media regarding Shabazz Napier sparked some controversy, leading to a response from the Zvezda guard.

Messina quickly addressed the situation, but he went into further detail about the incident when speaking to the Serbian outlet Meridian Sport.

As he explained: “I joked: ‘Probably now (Shabazz) would like to be with us.’ The journalist let it go as a statement. If you noticed, there was no reaction from that reporter. That tells you enough. No, that tells you everything.”

Messina admitted that this whole situation bothered him and expressed his respect towards Napier: “I have the utmost respect for Shabazz. He came to Milan, played very well, we won the title together against a great team like Virtus… And of course, we wanted him to stay at the club, we were sad that we couldn’t keep him.

“But that’s life. He wanted to come to Red Star and we wish him all the best. I was extremely sorry for what happened. And, I will repeat, it is very interesting that there was no response from the journalists. You usually have the last word…”