Nico Mannion joins the
Parmigiano Reggiano® team


Born in Siena, Niccolo (Nico) Mannion is a young and very talented athlete starting his basketball career in the NBA. Having spent spent most of his childhood in Italy, Nico speaks his native language fluently and is very proud of his Italian heritage. He grew up in a family of athletes who placed a great deal of value on nutritious food, health and fitness – which is why he has a special place in his heart for Parmigiano Reggiano, his favorite cheese. On the heels of his professional basketball debut with one of the top teams in the NBA, we are delighted to announce that Nico will also be officially promoting the Parmigiano Reggiano brand in the US. Go, Nico, go!

Nico as young boy in Italy, with his father, Pace, and his mother, Gaia.

With both parents successful professional athletes,
Nico was destined for a career in sports.

Nico’s father, Pace Mannion played for six seasons in the NBA before moving to Italy – where the 6’ 7” tall player competed for the rest of his professional career. It was in Italy that Pace fell in love with Gaia Bianchi, a highly regarded professional volleyball player. The two athletes were soon married, and in 2001 Nico was born – in Italy – where he spent a large part of his childhood. Nico speaks Italian fluently, and feels very close to the culture of his birth country. His mother Gaia, who is passionate about food and fitness introduced Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in his diet since he was little – and the cheese has become his favorite foods and a staple of his nutrition regimen ever since.

Nico’s flaming red hair has become as easy to spot on the basketball court as his extraordinary talent.

A young Nico used his fluency in Italian
to meet one of basketball’s greatest players.

When Nico was young, his father returned to the US where he was hired as a broadcast analyst for the Utah Jazz. Nico would often tag along with his father, and he became obsessed with basketball. When the LA Lakers played the Utah Jazz at the Western Conference Semifinals, Nico hoped to meet his hero, Kobe Bryant. Having played with Bryant’s dad in Italy, Pace knew that Kobe spoke Italian, so he told his son to get the star’s attention by talking to him in Italian. Nico took his dad’s advice, and Kobe stopped to meet the red-headed kid who spoke fluent Italian. “Kobe took time out of his day to come talk to a little kid,” Nico says. “He took 10 minutes, and he made my year.”

At 17, Nico was one of the youngest players to ever play for the Italian National Team.

A sensation on the basketball court, Nico was recruited
to play for the Italian National Team.

Nico attended Pinnacle High School in Phoenix, Arizona, where he was a consensus five-star recruit and one of the top point guards in the 2019 class. In college, Mannion played for the the University of Arizona Wildcats where he was the team’s second-leading scorer. And, well before he was recruited by one of the top teams in the NBA, the Italian Basketball Federation asked him to play for Italy at the FIBA U16 European Championship. In seven games that summer, Mannion averaged a tournament-high 19.9 points per game. Two summers later, he turned down a chance to play for Team USA, and instead made his debut for the Italian national team at age 17, as the fourth youngest in team history.

Nico’s passion for health and fitness is inherited from his mom, who is also his biggest fan.

As the first athlete to represent Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in the US,
Nico is committed to promoting its nutritional benefits, and more.

Nico is the first athlete hired to promote the Parmigiano Reggiano brand in the United States – and we could not be happier about the relationship. Nico is an amazing young man, a driven athlete, and he is committed to helping people understand why Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is considered a true masterpiece of Italian cuisine. Nico is genuinely excited to share his passion for the Italian cheese that his mother introduced into his diet at an early age. He plans to post through his social media channels and participate in virtual and in-person appearances. “As an athlete, food is an integral part of fueling your body for performance. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is a healthy source of protein that is easy to add to meals, or as a delicious snack on its own. As a proud Italian, I’m excited to partner with Parmigiano Reggiano and add a taste of home to my pre and post-game routine,” says Nico.

We would like to congratulate Nico about his debut in the NBA
and can’t wait to see what he’ll accomplish.

We are very happy that a nice young man like Nico has begun his professional basketball career on such a great team – the same NBA team, by the way, where his das also started his own career. We are impressed with Nico’s energy and passion on the basketball court – but are glad to see how it extends to his family, his community, and to his Italian-American heritage. We are happy to welcome Nico into the Parmigiano Reggiano family. “BRAVO, NICO!”.