Episode 85: Deep-Dive | Sabonis, Chapter 1
Having won the Euroscar six times and the Mr. Europa Award twice, Arvydas Sabonis is one of the greatest European basketball players ever, and arguably the greatest all-time passing big-man.
Sabonis spent seven seasons with Portland Trailblazers (1995-2001 and 2002-2003), after a long, accomplished career playing internationally with Žalgiris in the USSR Premier League (1981–1989), as well as the Spanish teams Fórum Valladolid (1989–1992) and Real Madrid (1992-1995). Sabonis was a 2x champion in the ACB League (1993, 1994), 3x champion in the USSR Premier League (1985–1987), and won the FIBA European League Championship (1995) and FIBA Club World Cup Championship (1986). He was inducted into both the FIBA Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
However, for all his accomplishments on the hardwood, Sabonis' significance and impact transcended basketball. After years of bloodshed, resistance and unrest, Lithuania declared it's independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. Sabonis and his countrymen were instrumental in Lithuania reclaiming it's sovereignty on the global stage, earning bronze medals at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics.
Politics of the Baltic (13:00), Lithuania post-WWII (15:45), Lithuania as a being a geopolitical pawn, occupation by Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia (17:30), U.S. media narratives about Soviet Russia (22:30), the USSR Premier League, Žalgiris (27:00), USSR National Team (32:30), 1983- Sabonis' break out year with Žalgiris (39:40), Bill Walton sees Sabonis play for the first time (41:00), 1984- USSR plays Real Madrid and 20 year old Sabonis shatters a backboard with one hand (44:15), 1985- Žalgiris defeats CSKA Moscow, Sabonis is Tournament MVP (46:00), 1985 NBA Draft (49:15) and Ted Turner (50:30).
On The Line is hosted by Chris Wendelken, Ben Craw and friends.
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