Arvydas Sabonis

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Arvydas Sabonis

Arvydas Sabonis (born December 19, 1964) is a successful basketball player from Lithuania. The 7'3" (2.20 m) Sabonis has been one of the top centers in the world from the 1980s through the early 21st century.

Sabonis' earliest international success was a bronze for the Soviet Union at the European Championship of 1983, followed by a gold in 1985 at both the European Championship and the World University Games. In 1984 Sabonis joined Žalgiris, Kaunas and led them to three consecutive Soviet league titles.

In 1985 he was a fourth round draft of the Atlanta Hawks but this was later nullified because of his age (he was under 21). In the 1986 NBA Draft he was the Portland Trail Blazers's first pick (number 24 overall), but again he couldn't play for them due to the political circumstances at the time.

He won the gold medal for the Soviet Union in the 1988 Summer Olympics, and played for Lithuania when they won bronze at the 1992 Summer Olympics, and were runners-up in the 1995 European Championships.

In 1989 he was allowed to leave the Soviet Union but he didn't go to the NBA and instead chose Forum Valladolid, and Real Madrid in 1992, whom he led to league championships in 1993 and 1994 and to the European Club Championship in 1995. He was named European Player of the Year four times.

In 1995 he finally joined the NBA with the Trail Blazers, and won the Rookie of the Month and Player of the Week awards in 1996. He was later a runner-up for the Rookie of the Year and Sixth Man awards. He remained with Portland for seven years, playing in 470 regular season and 51 playoff matches with them and often leading the team in rebounds. He was a very effective player in the NBA, but his career there had considerable "what-might-have-been" overtones. During his years in Europe, he suffered a series of knee and Achilles tendon injuries that robbed him of most of his mobility.

In 2003, Sabonis returned to Lithuania and bought a major stake in his old club Žalgiris. He also played for Žalgiris in the 2003-04 season, winning the MVP award in both the regular-season and Top 16 phases of the Euroleague (the basketball equivalent of the UEFA Champions League) and being named to the All-Euroleague team.

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Arvydas Sabonis and his wife Ingrida.

His wife Ingrida Mikelionytė Saboniene was the winner of the first Lithuanian beauty pageant, "The Beauty of Vilnius 88". They have 4 children.de:Arvydas Sabonis lt:Arvydas Sabonis

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