Lithuania – A national basketball hero and legend, Arvydas Sabonis is parting ways with the National Basketball Team organization. The team’s head coach Joas Kazlauskas is also leaving the team. The announcement comes on the heels of Lithuania finishing as the runner-up in the recently concluded 2013 Eurobasket tournament, an impressive feat for the nation and a first in the recent decade. Sabonis was a former member of the National Team himself in 1992, 1995-96 and 1998-2000.
The former Portland Trail Blazer, Sabonis (222 cm), made huge strides in global basketball as he joined the franchise at age 31, long after having a very successful career in Europe. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011. His basketball I.Q. was impressive, to say the least, his versatility as a player was unquestionable and is to this day is regarded as one of the best passing big men to ever play the game. After his seven-season career in the NBA, Sabonis returned to his home Lithuania where he played for Zalgiris Kaunas. He retired as a player in 2005. Arvydas Sabonis is considered to be one of the best European basketball players of all time.
Both Sabonis and Kazlauskas are leaving the organization because of pressure and “harshness” from the media.
Sabonis said: “From the first day, there was pressure from media on the coach and the national team”
Whether he will completely step away from the game altogether remains to be seen, given how much love he has for the sport. For now, what is clear is that he will no longer be part of the Lithuanian Basketball Federation.