Basketball in Lithuania

Lithuania - basketball heaven.

Lithuanians are the most passionate basketball loving people in Europe, with basketball being more than religion to Lithuanians. This is the reason why Lithuania is home to many NBA and Euroleague stars. Currently the Lithuanian team comes 6th in the FIBA men’s world ranking table. Amongst the most recent achievements, the Lithuanian national basketball team finished fourth in the Beijing Olympic Games, 2008. Kaunas’s Žalgiris triumphed in the Gomelskiy Cup (2008) in Moscow, against Panathinaikos, with the score ending at 69:80.

Some interesting facts about basketball in Lithuania:

  • The Lithuanian basketball team won the Europe Championship in 1937, 1939, 2003, the silver medal in 1995 (Athens), and bronze in 2007.
  • Bronze medal winners in the 1992, 1996, and 2000 Summer Olympics, 4th place in 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics.
  • The Junior basketball team (under 19 years of age) won the European Championship in 2003 and took 2nd place in the World Championship in the same year.
  • The Junior basketball team (under 21) won the World Championship in 2005 (Argentina)
  • The Europe Championship in 1939 was held in Lithuania.
  • Žalgiris, Kaunas won the Europe cup in 1998 and the Euroleague in 1999.
  • Lietuvos Rytas, Vilnius won the ULEB Cup in 2005.
  • The Eurobasketball Competition will be held in Lithuania in 2011.

Several Lithuanian basketball players have successfully played in the NBA:

  • Arvydas Sabonis (Portland Trail Blazers, 1995-2001, 2002-03)
  • Šarūnas Marčiulionis (Golden State Warriors and other teams, 1989-1997)
  • Žydrūnas Ilgauskas (still playing for Cleveland Cavaliers)
  • Darius Songaila (still playing for Washington Wizards)

These players were newcomers to the NBA in the Fall of 2005:

  • Šarūnas Jasikevičius (playing for Golden State Warriors)
  • Martynas Andriuškevičius (played for Chicago Bulls)
  • Linas Kleiza (playing for Denver Nuggets)

You can read interviews with famous Lithuanian basketball players at:

or listen to them at:

For the above links, thanks to www.fiba.com and www.fibaeurope.com

Other Useful links:

Lithuanian national basketball team.

Eurobasket pages on Lithuanian teams, scores, etc.