Top Italian historical figure? A US basketballer

The newly crowned Miss Italy has been ridiculed for a second time this week, after she said her favourite historical Italian figure is American basketball legend Michael Jordan.

Her new gaffe followed her admission to the contest judges that she would have liked to have lived through the Second World War.

Alice Sabatani, 18, had been asked what historical period she would have liked to have experienced during the live television contest.

She drew gasps when she told them she wished she was alive in 1942, during the height of the Second World War and the reign of Italy’s dictator, Mussolini.

That gaffe won her a Tapiro d’Oro (Golden Tapir), a mock prize awarded by Italian satirical news show Striscia la Notizia to celebrities who have been humiliated or defeated.

When she was handed the prize by Striscia la Notizia’s special correspondent Valerio Staffelli, she was asked which Italian historical figure she most admired.

She replied: “Michael Jordan, the greatest player in basketball history.”

She then tried to defend her comment about 1942, arguing her great-grandmother, 91, lived through the war and remains one of the strongest and most influential people in her life.

In 1942, Italy was an ally of Germany, and Nazis began executing thousands of Jews at concentration camps around this time.

Thousands of Italian lives were also lost in the Battle of El Alamein and the Battle of Stalingrad.

She defended her answer, saying she was “nervous”.


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