Has Andrea Bargnani Finally Grown a Backbone?

Sean McAuliffeContributor IMay 24, 2011

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 02:  Andrea Bargnani #7 of the Toronto Raptors against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 2, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Andrea Bargnani recently expressed some displeasure regarding statements made by the Toronto Raptors General Manager, Bryan Colangelo, to the Italian press.

He also made it known that he might prefer to play for a different NBA team next year where he can “play his role.”

This is the first time that Bargnani has called out any member within the Raptors organization and it undoubtedly caught a number of people off guard. Bargnani is known to be one of the most quiet and passive players in the NBA, both on and off the court.

This recent spurt of attitude is definitely out of character for the big Italian.

Bargnani’s comments regarding Colangelo were not only surprising, but unjustified. Colangelo’s assessment of Bargnani’s performance during the 2010-2011 season was entirely honest.

Was it necessary to say all that he did to the press? No. But it was most likely done intentionally to motivate Bargnani to work harder this offseason.

And at the time, Colangelo couldn’t afford to show unconditional support for a player that he had received so much criticism over while his job status remained uncertain.

As for Bargnani’s comments about moving to a city with a warmer climate, well, you can’t really blame him. There are a lot of anti-Bargnani Raptor fans and they have been pretty vocal about their displeasure with his play as of late.

This just goes to show that both sides have finally realized that it is not working out.

But I would like to get back to what really shocked me about Andrea Bargnani’s comments: The fact that he actually said something.

It was an act of aggression and assertiveness that Bargnani has never displayed before.

It may be an indicator that he has finally changed. If this newfound attitude translates onto the court, he could actually end up turning into the player that we all hoped he would become.

Highly unlikely? Yes. But when Bargnani suits up for the first time next season, regardless of the uniform he wears, it will be interesting to see which player shows up: The same old passive Bargnani who gets out-rebounded by point guards or an energized version that looks like he actually cares.