Arvydas Sabonis

Arvydas Romas Sabonis (born December 19, 1964) is a Lithuanian retired professional basketball player and businessman. Recognized as one of the best European players of his era, he won the Euroscar Award six times, and the Mr. Europa Award twice. He played in a variety of leagues, and spent seven seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the United States. Sabonis played the center position and also won a gold medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics in South Korea for the Soviet Union, and later earned bronze medals at the 1992 and 1996 games while playing for Lithuania. He retired from professional basketball in 2005.

Sabonis is considered one of the best big man passers as well as one of the best overall centers in the history of the game. Bill Walton once called Sabonis a 7’3″ Larry Bird due to his unique court vision, shooting range, rugged in-game mentality, and versatility.

On August 20, 2010, Sabonis was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame in recognition of his great play in international competition. On April 4, 2011, Sabonis was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame,[3] and he was inducted on August 12, 2011. At that time, he was the tallest player to ever enter the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame; one year later, he would be surpassed by 7’4″ Ralph Sampson. On October 24, 2011, Sabonis was voted to be the next president of the Lithuanian Basketball Federation, replacing Vladas Garastas who was the leader of LBF since 1991. He resigned from the position on October 2, 2013, but came back on October 10, 2013.

In September 2011, Sabonis suffered a heart attack while playing basketball in Lithuania. Doctors said that the heart attack was not life-threatening.


Career NBA statistics
Points 5,629 (12.0 ppg)
Rebounds 3,436 (7.3 rpg)
Assists 964 (2.1 apg)

Career highlights and awards
6× Euroscar Player of the Year (1984–1985, 1988, 1995, 1997, 1999)
2× Mr. Europa Player of the Year (1985, 1997)
3× USSR League champion (1985–1987)
Club World Cup champion (1986)
4× Lithuanian Sportsman of the Year (1984–1986, 1996)
EuroBasket champion (1985)
EuroBasket MVP (1985)
Spanish Cup (1993)
2× ACB League champion (1993–1994)
2× Spanish League Finals MVP (1993, 1994)
Spanish League MVP (1994–1995)
Euroleague champion (1995)
Euroleague Final Four MVP (1995)
NBA All-Rookie First Team (1996)
Euroleague Regular Season MVP (2004)
Euroleague Top 16 MVP (2004)
All-Euroleague First Team (2004)
LKL champion (2004)
FIBA’s 50 Greatest Players (1991)
50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors (2008)
No. 11 retired by Žalgiris Kaunas

Men’s basketball Summer Olympic Games
Competitor for Soviet Union
Gold medal – first place 1988 Seoul National team
Competitor for Lithuania
Bronze medal – third place 1992 Barcelona National team
Bronze medal – third place 1996 Atlanta National team
FIBA World Cup Competitor for Soviet Union
Gold medal – first place Colombia 1982 National team
Silver medal – second place Spain 1986 National team
FIBA EuroBasket  Competitor for Soviet Union
Bronze medal – third place 1983 France National team
Gold medal – first place 1985 West Germany National team
Bronze medal – third place 1989 Yugoslavia National team
Competitor for Lithuania
Silver medal – second place 1995 Greece National team