Untold Facts About Mario Banchero: His Marriage, Career, Children & More


Mario Banchero is an ex-collegiate football player turned businessman who is also known as the father of the Orlando Magic power forward, Paolo Banchero. Mario is also the longtime husband of former college and WNBA basketball player, Rhonda Smith Banchero.

Up-and-coming NBA player, Paolo, and former college-level champion, Rhonda may now overshadow Banchero patriarch, Mario, but in the past he too had quite a reputation as an athlete. Despite this, he chose to end his playing career and is now busy standing by his kids’ side and running a pretty good business.

Read more about Rhonda’s husband, Mario; starting with his parents and ethnicities, to his relationship with his longtime partner, their children, especially Paolo, and also his company; what exactly he does for a living.

Mario Banchero is from Seattle, Washington; Where was he born?

Rhonda’s Husband and Paolo Banchero’s Father – Mario Banchero was born on April 16, 1974. While it’s a bit unclear where exactly Banchero was born, he claims to have grown up in Seattle, Washington. He is also a very long time local of the place.

While Mario never misses mentioning and admiring his father, he has only mentioned a few times about his mother who was back on his Facebook in June 2017.

Mario Banchero is Italian by ethnicity; His son is also an Italian citizen

Mario’s ethnicity includes predominantly Italian. His ancestors came from the north of the country. His great-grandparents emigrated from Italy to the United States at the beginning of the 20th century (1900). In their homeland they were Black Diamond miners and also farmers.

Ex-WNBA player, wife of Rhonda Smith and the Orlando Magic NBA player, Paolo Banchero's father, Mario Banchero with his father.
Mario Banchero, born in Seattle, Washington with his father. facebook

However, Banchero’s great-grandfather never had naturalization in the United States. This allowed Mario’s first son, Paolo, to receive Italian citizenship. He officially became an Italian in February 2020.

Speaking of the situation, Rhonda’s husband said:

“They (Italian Basketball Federation) got in touch a few years ago about the possibility.”

When they approached Mario, he filled out the form and eventually Paolo became an Italian citizen.

Mario and his wife Rhonda Smith Banchero went to the same college and school

Mario Banchero met his wife Rhonda Smith Banchero when they were both athletes at the University of Washington.

During the time Rhonda was a senior, and interestingly enough, she and her future husband, Mario, grew a few blocks apart. They also went to the same school, but never met by chance.

Ex-athletes from the University of Washington and husband and wife, Rhonda Smith and Mario Banchero.
Seattle-based business owner, Mario and his longtime husband, Rhonda Smith. facebook

Going into that, Rhonda once said in an interview:

“I must have over looked him because he was a late bloomer.”

Banchero married a famous athlete

As mentioned, Mario’s wife, Rhonda was a champion athlete who competed in basketball.

She was a collegiate basketball player for the Washington Huskies Women’s basketball team. In fact, Rhonda had quite the reputation among the viewers and coaches in her day for making several milestones. At the end of her college career, Mario’s wife had a total of 2,948 points and 803 rebounds.

In 2000, Rhonda also became a third-round selection in the WNBA draft, after which she was a professional player abroad and in the American Basketball League.

While she long left a career in professional sports, Banchero’s wife now focuses her time on working for the greater good. Rhonda apparently spends her time at a non-profit to help the homeless. At the same time, she also treats addictions and mental illness.

Mario Banchero had a few thoughts before introducing his wife Rhonda

Mario and Rhonda’s honeymoon story began in the late 1990s. It was presumably in 1999—when Mario asked Rhonda to marry him in February of that year.

Before the proposal, Mario revealed in his 20th wedding anniversary video that he had taken a page from Fox’s comedy TV show. He said he was inspired by how Martin, the show’s titular character, portrayed Gina. Mike was working near Green Lake, Seattle at the time. He thought it would be the place where he will ask Rhonda to marry him.

Apparently the lake was also where his father proposed to his mother.

The day Mario proposed to Rhonda, his parents expected to meet him and his parents too. However, because the Seattle resident worked at Green Lake, he had to wait until evening to attend the meeting. After finishing work, Mario finally decided to take the plunge by calling Rhonda by the lake.

So the Washington native told the 2004 Husky Hall of Fame that his car wouldn’t start and Rhonda had to come by the lake to pick him up.

Orlando Magic player, Paolo Banchero's parents, Mario and Rhonda.
The old couple and parents of Paolo Banchero, Rhonda and Mario. facebook

Rhonda agreed and after she got to Green Lake, she and Mario started to walk around it. And after a while, one of Banchero’s friends came with flowers to pass it on, but without the knowledge of Rhonda. It was something Mario had planned in advance.

Banchero introduced Rhonda with a lot of spontaneity

The grandson of Italian grandparents, Mario apparently wanted everything for the proposal at his disposal while talking to his future wife. And for that he had asked for help from some of his friends and his brother a few days earlier.

The plan included background music from Mario’s guitarist friend, which seemed to come out of nowhere for Rhonda. As soon as the music started playing, the college football player turned entrepreneur pulled the ring out of his pocket and the rest is history.

Mario, now 48, and his wife Rhonda married in July 1999.

Mario Banchero NBA player-son, Paolo Banchero

The couple, Mario and Rhonda, welcomed three children after their marriage. In addition to Paolo, the Banchero couple has another son, Lio, and a daughter, Mia. The latter two are both younger than their NBA player son Paolo.

Mario’s first son with Rhonda, Paolo is 6 feet tall and is Orlando Magic No. 5.

Mario Banchero with his son Paolo and his wife Rhonda.
Mondo and Sons Inc owner, Mario with his son, Paolo, and wife, Rhonda Smith. Instagram

Since Mario and his wife, Rhonda were both athletes at their younger ages, they apparently influenced their son, Paolo’s career and understandably even facilitated him with a lot of help.

However, Paolo has emphasized his mother in his interviews, Rhonda’s rigor and her previous experiences as an athlete have been instrumental in helping his career get to where it is today.

Initially, Mario and his wife’s first child, Paolo, were a freshman quarterback at his father’s O’Dea High School. However, he later changed his career to basketball from football.

Banchero Son, Paolo also had an option to play for Italy

Aforesaid, as he became an Italian citizen in February 2020 at the age of 17, the Italian Basketball Federation also contacted him for Italy’s EuroBasket qualifiers in the same year. However, Mario’s eldest son chose not to play.

Paolo nevertheless said he would like to play for the Azzurri in international competitions in the future. The 19-year-old power-forward is still proud of his father’s Italian heritage and even displays the country’s flag on his social media handles.

Paolo, the eldest son of Mario and Rhonda, shocked everyone in June 2022 when he became the Orlando Magic’s No. 1 general conscript. Banchero’s son, Paolo, was also the top player on the Duke University Blue Devils basketball team in North Carolina.

Mario Other kids love sports too

The ex-WNBA champion Rhonda and her wife, Mario’s daughter, Mia, is also quite tall for her age. She was just 17 years old and had already reached a height of 5 feet 10 inches. Although she is also athletic, Mia is more into soccer and is a defensive midfielder for Reigh Academy and Holy Names Academy in Seattle, Washington.

As for Mario’s other son, Lio, he is currently studying at his father’s ex-high school, O’Dea, and will graduate in 2026. He also plays football for the Benson Bruins.

Banchero used to play for the University of Washington Football; What is he doing now?

As mentioned, Mario was also a collegiate player for the Washington Huskies playing as a tight end for their soccer team.

Although he was quite active as an athlete during his collegiate years, Mario after University kept himself in business and is now president of Mondo and Sons Inc. The company shines is a meat processor and distributor based in Tukvilla, Seattle, Washington.

The six-foot-ten-inch tall Orlando Magic Power Forward, Paolo Banchero with his father, Mario.
48-year-old Mario with his NBA player son Paolo Banchero.

He is also a managing partner at 1150 LLC. In the past, an American of Italian descent was also the president of the Genesee Merchants Association.

He was also the vice president and secretary of the City of Seattle District Council. Mario’s resume features the role of board member at Rainier Chamber of Commerce.

Mario Banchero is often found posting on his Twitter

As it turns out, Paolo’s father, Mario is lively with his social media including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. In the latter case, the NBA star’s father never misses an opportunity to talk about basketball, especially collegiate games.

He also often gives shoutouts to his ancestral country, Italy, especially their national sports teams, be it football, basketball and others. On his other similar institutions, Facebook and Instagram, people can see that he supports his children by attending every match as much as possible. In fact, the father of three never seems to get tired of naming his ever-growing children.

Mario Banchero Other Facts

Born in Seattle Washington, Banchero attended O’Dea High School, class of 1992. As for college, he attended the University of Washington and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications in 1997.

Mario is Catholic and he says he is proud to be one. He also backs Pope Francis’ point for 2020: ‘a conscientious Catholic cannot be a ‘single-issue voter’.

Mario Banchero is six-foot-three to six-foot-four inches tall. According to his Twitter profile picture, he is even taller than ex-US President Barack Obama, who is six feet tall himself. To say more, Mario is only an inch taller than his 6’2″ wife, Rhonda Smith Banchero.


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