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Old 07-13-2011, 05:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Arvydas Sabonis Honored on Main Page @ NBA.com

NBA, fans didn't get chance to see Sabonis at his best

Posted Jul 13 2011 11:17AM

So much of the NBA portion of his career was shrouded in mystery, from the clandestine pre-dawn meeting in a foreign hotel to the eternal uncertainty of what might have been in healthier times, to all the moments of conveniently forgetting English in a conscious decision to remain as much of an unknown as possible.

Arvydas Sabonis will be inducted in the Hall of Fame on Aug. 12, via the International committee, amid little knowledge from this side of the world of the contradiction of a mountainous center who could give some point guards lessons on passing. And if there is a lasting sense eight years after the body gave out once and for all and his Trail Blazers career ended, it's not a good one: The best that never was. That's Sabonis, in greatness and disappointment.

In Europe, they know a much different version, one of a brilliant player before his 7-foot-3, 290-pound frame deteriorated. They remember a talent that had a major role in the Soviet Union winning Olympic gold in 1988 and Lithuania claiming the bronze in '92 before he finally went to Portland in 1995 at 31. They know of someone who easily deserves enshrinement in Springfield, Mass. Talk about a talent.

That's why his seven seasons in two stints with the Trail Blazers could be disappointing. Because NBA fans never saw anything close to the real Sabonis. Part was his doing -- the well-liked Sabonis would be joking with teammates in the locker room and suddenly, when a reporter approached, switch to a sullen, intimidating hulk who could not share himself because of the language barrier. His English was actually fine, but the line helped him to avoid interaction.
NBA, fans didn't get chance to see Sabonis at his best | NBA.com

Arvydas Sabonis | NBA.com

GameTime: Hall of Fame - Arvydas Sabonis | NBA.com
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