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Spurs’ Marco Belinelli details ‘crazy’ situation with family locked down in Italy due to coronavirus

Marco Belinelli, Spurs

San Antonio Spurs guard Marco Belinelli has spent every moment closely observing the news of his home country Italy, observing the coronavirus devastation that has now elevated the death toll above that of China as of Thursday.

“It’s just crazy,” Belinelli told Mark Medina of USA TODAY Sports. “It’s like a movie.”

His father (Daniele), mother (Iole), and two brothers (Umbertro, Enrico) have remained confined in their homes as part of the country’s mandatory quarantine to contain the pandemic.

“Everyone is healthy,” said Belinelli. “Thank God everything is good.”

NBA players have been advised to remain in their home markets but are permitted to travel to their hometown, so long as it is within the United States. Belinelli, who hails from Bologna, the largest city of the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy, has no option but to follow the news from the outside.

But the Spurs veteran is not standing cross-armed about this issue. He has partnered with the NBPA to make a significant donation to help the “Ospedale Maggiore di Bologna” (Great Hospital in Bologna) in efforts to stop the spread of the virus.

Belinelli is one of three Italians in the NBA along with fellow marksman Danilo Gallinari and rookie Nicolo Melli.

“We miss Italy,” said Belinelli. “We would like to go back to Italy to stay close to our family.”

The day following the NBA’s suspension of the 2019-20 season, Belinelli tweeted this helpful advice:

As the Spurs guard can attest to, many Italians did not take COVID-19 seriously, and they’d do anything to go back in time to two weeks ago.

“A lot of people weren’t ready to do that,” Belinelli said. “A lot of people didn’t take that seriously like we did. Right now, people need to respect the rules.”

Belinelli’s family has had to do that, even as his father turned 65 earlier this week.

“They can’t leave their house,” Belinelli said. “They can’t even go outside for grocery shopping. If you go there, the lines are just amazing. The people are standing outside [the stores]. You can only go in one at a time, too. It’s pretty tough.”

Italians have to carry a piece of paper when they go outside claiming the reason why it’s deemed “essential,” or risk a fine or even imprisonment for breaking the law amid this crisis.

This might be a helpful preview, not only for NBA players but others who doubt the seriousness of this pandemic and how it can affect lives in the blink of an eye.