Barbara Bottini, Philadelphia 76ers president Bryan Colangelo’s wife, has emerged as the latest character in one of the more bizarre sports gossip stories in recent memory.
Web sleuths have uncovered evidence that points to Bottini as the person behind multiple “burner” Twitter accounts that Colangelo is suspected of using to secretly put out information about the Sixers, including criticism of his own players, attacks on his predecessor Sam Hinkie, insider knowledge about the team and tweets defending his fashion choices. The Ringer’s Ben Detrick first reported on the anonymous Twitter accounts on Tuesday. Detrick reported that he received an anonymous tip that Colangelo was running the accounts and began scrutinizing them.
Colangelo has denied being behind four of the five accounts, which have similarities and all follow other accounts that have connections to the Sixers executive. He did admit to having a secret account, which never tweeted, that he used to monitor Twitter. You can read the full report here for more details.
Here’s what you need to know about the wife of Sixers President Bryan Colangelo, Barbara Bottini Colangelo:
1. A Phone Number & Email Belonging to Barbara Bottini Colangelo Appears to Have Been Used to Set Up the Twitter Accounts Her Husband Is Suspected of Using, a Sixers Fan Account Found
After The Ringer’s report took the Internet by storm, the work of several NBA fans turned amateur investigators, including a prominent Philadelphia 76ers fan account, uncovered more details about the account that led to Bryan Colangelo’s wife, Barbara Bottini.
First, a Twitter user named @SixersAdam attempted to recover the passwords for the Twitter accounts Colangelo was suspected of using, which revealed all of the accounts had a phone number in common and an email with Colangelo’s name in it.
A Twitter user named @mubb2000 found an email for Barbara Bottini and tried to recover the password for that account using Google. That form revealed that Bottini has a phone number that ends in 91. A 76ers fan account, @DidtheSixersWin, then found that Bottini had listed her number and email on the website for her son’s high school, where she was a member of the parent organization.
While many have suspected it was Colangelo writing the tweets, the new evidence points to his wife, who may have, at the very least, created the accounts. Colangelo could still be facing heat from the Philadelphia organization if it was his wife running the burners, since the information she was tweeting would have come from him. She has not commented and could not be reached by Heavy.
2. Bottini & Colangelo Have Been Married for Several Years & Have 2 Kids Together
Bryan Colangelo, 52, and Barbara Bottini, 54, have been married for several years and have two kids together, a son, Mattia, and a daughter, Sophia. Mattia Colangelo played high school basketball at Upper Canada College in Toronto, where his Bryan had been an executive with the Raptors, and now plays at the University of Chicago.
According to an article in Sportsnet, his daughter, Sophia, who is younger than Mattia, is a dancer. Both of the Colangelo children attended private schools in Toronto while they were living there, according to Toronto Life.
When Bryan Colangelo was hired by the Sixers in 2016, Bottini stayed in Toronto for a bit so her children could finish the school year. The family has since relocated to the Philadelphia area.
3. She Is Originally From Northern Italy & Colangelo Credits Her for His High-Collared Shirts, Which the Burner Twitter Accounts Often Defended
Barbara Bottini, born December 16, 1963, is originally from Puglia in northern Italy. She and her family have have returned there for trips, according to Toronto Life, which wrote in a profile of Colangelo, they “often take long holidays in Italy.”
Colangelo has credited his high-collared shirts and fashion sense to his wife. The Twitter accounts often defended his collars. The Toronto Star wrote about his style in 2007:
“I was named best dressed in high school in 1983,” the former Phoenix resident reveals. “I was much more preppy then. Now, I’m somewhere in between North American style and Italian style. That’s the influence of having a Northern Italian wife.” Colangelo has all his shirts custom made at Manifatture all’ Orologio, a little shop in the main piazza in Bologna, Italy. “That’s where the high collars come from,” he says. “And they do special details like contrast stitching and square buttons.” Tailors in Phoenix and Toronto and visits to Via Cavour and Harry Rosen keep him in slim-cut suits. “People say I never dress down, but I do at home,” Colangelo says,
Along with the collar tweets, other details about the burner accounts also links to Bottini and her ties to Italy. Twitter user @DrunkSixersFan found one of the burners, under the name “Eric Jr,” follows an account named @AngeloCustode3, which means guardian angel in Italian and tweets out bible verses.
4. She Was Heavily Involved in Her Son’s School, Which Called Her the ‘Backbone’ of Its Parent Organization
Barbara Bottini was a key member of the parent organizations at Upper Canada College, the private school in Toronto that her son attended. Several newsletters and other postings on the school’s website talk about her involvement, including listing the phone number and email that are associated with the burner accounts.
She won an award from the school in 2016. “The backbone of the parent organizations at both the Prep and Upper School, Barbara has a gift for the kind of unifying leadership that brings people together to do great things,” the school wrote in the announcement about the award. “Barbara’s signature kindness, diplomacy and work ethic are present in all she does at UCC — which is a whole lot! Her myriad volunteer roles over the last decade include Parents’ Organization president, vice-president and president of the Parents’ Organization Executive Committee, A-Day co-chair, head of the Nutrition Committee, and Arts Booster Club board chair. With her son Mattia graduating this year, Barbara’s outstanding service and dedication to the College will be sorely missed.”
Twitter users also found connections to the school on the burner accounts. @Legsanity tweeted that the “Eric Jr” burner account followed Holly Miklas and Liza Murrell, two members of the UCC parents’ organization who nominated Bottini for the award she received in 2016.
5. Colangelo, Who Has Said the Accounts Aren’t His & Suggested Someone Was ‘Out to Get’ Him, Is Facing an Internal Investigation by the 76ers Organization
Colangelo told Yahoo Sports about the accounts, “Someone’s out to get me. … This is clearly not me.” He later backed down somewhat from the claims of a set up, saying he can’t be sure it was deliberate, but said the accounts are not his and he is “hopeful to resolve this soon.”
He told The Ringer in a statement, “Like many of my colleagues in sports, I have used social media as a means to keep up with the news. While I have never posted anything whatsoever on social media, I have used the @Phila1234567 Twitter account referenced in this story to monitor our industry and other current events. This storyline is disturbing to me on many levels, as I am not familiar with any of the other accounts that have been brought to my attention, nor do I know who is behind them or what their motives may be in using them.”
The 76ers have launched an internal investigation into the matter. “An online media outlet filed a story linking multiple social media accounts to 76ers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo,” the team said in a statement. “The allegations are serious and we have commenced an independent investigation into the matter. We will report the results of that investigation as soon as it is concluded.”
Source: Heavy Sports