Basketball in Lithuania: The Life of Playing Professional Euro Basketball

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Last modified on Saturday, 18 May 2013 10:39

Euro basketball is a big deal, and Lithuania is one of the more competitive basketball nations in Europe despite being a small country. So  Basketball in Lithuania is a really big deal.  Lithuania joined the European Union in May 1, 2004. Besides Lithuania, no other Baltic state has faced the long line of state hood tradition.  Basketball is the country's main sport.  Basketball is a passionate tradition with the expectation of excellence.  Some famous Lithuanian basketball players include Arvydas Sabonis, Šarūnas Jasikevičius, Arvydas Macijauskas, and Žydrūnas Ilgauskas.




Basketball Video Transcription: Europeans just, pay a lot of attention to those little bait things, where American basketball is concentrating on forward, getting things done. You have certain ways to attack basketball, like certain moves. In Lithuania, we don't work on those things. We just put everything, we just throw out there everything. We just kind of do. That's why, skill-wise, we are more versatile compared to Americans. But there is a big niche in Lithuania for what Americans are doing, and that is what I am trying to do. I am trying to bring the perception of the way Americans take basketball, really athletic, really tough minded, really attack-minded as well, where in Europe they play more tactics. They are trying to find the right spot at the right time. I like the way the United States are doing with their basketball. They are just in attack mode, because in life, you've got to take an opportunity. If opportunity is there, you have just got to take on it.

Well, I was thrown out there every time. Like, if I'd get an opportunity to play in a pick-up game, I would be there. If I heard about some kind of camp, I would be there. You always have to do everything you can from your side. If you need to put a tape together, like a highlights film, you do that. You put it, you throw it out there, you market, like you just said, everywhere you can, on YouTube. You've got to be a positive person. You just be positive about everythingthat surrounds you, and the good thing is going to come.

First of all, it's all about agents in that business. If you have an agent that is representing you, it is easier to get in. When you are on your own, then you have to make your own phone calls. You have to do all that paperwork by yourself. So an agent is really an important aspect of the game.

Basically, he came up with a couple offers for me lined up, and I just had to pick one. It was simple from there. The first season, they are giving you a chance. It's a pro team in the first league here. I said, "Okay. Everything sounds good." It was not too far from where I am living. I said, "Yeah, I am going to try." And I did. And it was fun.

It was a fun season. I had some bumps on the road. But I picked up a lot. In pro level, it's a little bit different than college, I have to say that, because people expect a lot. They are actually investing you, both money- wise and time-wise and reputation wise. So the expectations are really high. I'm just telling you the way it is in Lithuania, because I played only one year.

So they are constantly reminding you, [inaudible 2:57] and money, so you have got to be on your best performance every day. So it is a lot of pressure, but at the same time it is rewarding because you get to live the lifestyle of a basketball player, and you get money for what you love.

I did, I did train a lot. I'm going to admit that. I'm going to be cocky on it, because I take a lot of pride in it. Not everybody can go into the gym and spend three or four hours extra.

I think that is the biggest asset for every professional athlete there is. You have got to work smart as well. But it is a lot of how are you going to work, and how long are you going to work. Both things matter. The more time you spend, the smarter your work, the bigger the benefit is going to be. So the way I did it, I really worked a lot on my agility on track, my stamina on track so I can last longer. I could have done a better job with my injury prevention, because I had a lot of injuries that were stopping my career. So a lot of flexibility and stretching would help that. Now I am doing yoga and I am really happy. I would recommend to everybody to do
yoga, and particularly it's called Boga, Power Yoga. It's where you stretch a lot, where you get the really tough positions.

But not going far away from what we are talking about right now is extra hours in the gym. After my freshman year I made a commitment to myself to get as much done in the summer as possible. And the coaching staff was helping me so much. You remember, Clyde Borum [SP], he was always there for us. Yes, he was their guy and he was the best coach I had.

And when I say smart work and hard work, I was putting in a lot of work with him, and he helped me with tips that I am implementing into my personal coaching right now as well.


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