In a column he wrote for The Oregonian, Jason Quick elicited this immortal quote from Blazers team physician Don Roberts, who was shocked when he got Sabonis' medical records: "The X-ray alone would get you a handicap parking permit," Roberts said. Could the former All-Star be on the move? Anderson scored 17.5 per game that year, with 7.1 assists. Divac is himself 7-foot-1, but at that moment I understood.
When Anderson drove off the dribble, Sabonis read the court flawlessly, ducking towards the hoop or open space to receive the pass. The Trail Blazers eventually won the unpredictable Sabonis stakes, but he didn't arrive until 1995, nine years after Portland drafted him, when he was 31 and hobbled by foot problems (his Achilles tendon had been repaired and he had arthritic feet) of the Bill Walton dimension. We covered both Anderson and Sabonis in our 100 Greatest Figures in Franchise History series during this spring’s COVID hiatus. The Hawks took the plunge on Sabonis in 1985, but there was no chance that he was coming then while the Cold War was still going on.
That pick was voided and in 1986 the Portland Trail Blazers drafted Sabonis in the first round. Sabonis shot 37.1% from the arc, 49.8% overall for 13.4 points of his own. But never doubt that he truly belongs among the game's greats. ARVYDAS SABONIS Jersey!! All Rights Reserved. Anderson’s lightning-quick moves stood in deep contrast to Sabonis’ plodding game, but the two gelled instantly. He later re-joined European professional leagues and played for Lithuania at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. Into the ring of people strode Arvydas Sabonis, 7-3 and -- I'm guessing here -- 330 pounds, maybe 20 more than his final NBA playing weight and maybe 75 pounds more than his weight in the early 1980s when Sabonis was widely described as -- get ready -- The Best Player in the World. ... his size creates problems for opposing sides, and he’s always ready to clean the glass, as they say. I like the Sabonis of eternal mystery. Sabonis drank so prodigiously in his postgame celebration that he was unable to roust himself for the appearance on the medal stand and was later found spreading his own version of Glasnost in the dorm of the Russian women's Olympic team. 2020 - All rights reserved.
‘96-’97 was Anderson’s only year in Portland. Sabonis eventually played seven years in the NBA, all with the Trail Blazers. © 2020 ABG-SI LLC. The top-flight Soviet players all had reason to be bitter, and Sabonis, the best of them, seemed to be more bitter than most. "No, no," he said, waving his arms and pointing. Finally, he was perfectly proportioned -- a normal human being simply writ large." I heard the same priceless Sabonis/vodka story from both Marciulionis and Dallas Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson, who was an assistant coach on the Lithuanian team that won a bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Sabonis' drinking is part of his legend, as is his skill, his dark past, his wasted years and his imperviousness to pain. (In five 1996 playoff games against the Utah Jazz, he averaged 23.6 points and 10.2 rebounds, an indicator of what he could've been.). Then Wolff added: "Oh, and he was 19 at the time. He later re-joined European professional leagues and played for Lithuania at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. I didn't see him those early years, but one who bore witness was Sports Illustrated colleague Alexander Wolff, this year's winner of the Curt Gowdy Media Award. American fans will recognize him mainly as the plodding behemoth who patrolled the pivot for the Portland Trail Blazers of the mid- and late-1990s. The guard and center made a great pair in Portland.
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