To win is not enough: My life, my basketball
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Sarunas Jasikevicius is one of the most recognizable players in the modern era of European basketball. He turned pro in 1998 and won 23 titles with his clubs (Barcelona, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Panathinaikos, Fenerbahce) plus 3 medals (a European gold, a European bronze and an Olympic bronze) with Lithuanian National team. He’s been the point guard everybody wanted to watch, every team wanted to sign, every fan dreamt to cheer for. He built his success with his amazing will to win: he was able to win in the athletes-era, while whe can consider him as an “average athlete” at his best. He didn’t won with his legs, he did it with his mind, his heart, his talent to become a better player year by year.
The book by Sarunas Jasikevicius (written with the italian journalist Pietro Scibetta) retraces the steps of an extraordinary life and career. It follows his arrival in the world of American basketball in college, to his return to Europe where he won National Championships and Euroleague, and then back to the States again to compete in the NBA. Finally, it recalls other successes in Europe right up to the end of his career as a player in 2014, with the Žalgiris Kaunas jersey. This opens the door to a new adventure for Sarunas, starting this year with his first experience on the bench as assistant coach for Kaunas.
The autobiography of a great champion, loved by fans all over the world, always able to leave an unforgettable memory in the heart of his fans. This book is a confession, a story, but also a tribute to the world of European basketball of which Sarunas was the undisputed star.
against Siena. I did not like at all the defeat against the Russians, because I considered it a wake-up call. They were big and strong as ever with tall players like as Victor Alexander, Dragan Tarlac and Mirsad Turkcan and plenty of dangerous players, like Theo Papaloukas, Marcus Brown, J.R. Holden, who for me was a real nightmare. Because of his unpredictability in attack, but also because he was very fast and could apply full-court press nonstop. On the bench, Dusan Ivkovic was synonymous with
headquarters in Barcelona, there are meeting rooms named after Dejan Bodiroga, Zeljko Obradovic and me. In short, it is not about the name on the plate per se; it is the company that made me really proud. That was also the year of the Olympics. In that edition, I was chosen as the flag bearer for Lithuania, one of those things that you never think will happen to you; certainly, one of the most beautiful moments of my life. The stadium in Beijing where we made our entrance was impressive and
bombarded us about how it would or should go to the semifinals, and the risk was to consider the challenge with Olympiacos, the most important event of that weekend in Berlin. It was not. Who cares about winning the semi-final, although against your toughest rivals, if in the end you lose the final? In the locker room, after the game, I was interviewed and I did not say a word about the Olympiacos. I was already talking about the CSKA. We had to bring immediate attention to that. Obradovic gave
wonderful. At that moment, I must confess, I missed Anna. Once back in Athens I called her, I wanted her with me to celebrate that victory. First, though, we were welcomed by a crowd of people at the airport, a situation similar to when I arrived to the city for the first time. Thousands of people, a lot of enthusiasm, a bit of madness, white-and-green everywhere. It was our party. During the Final Four, however, I had also other thoughts. I began to feel that something was wrong with my left
began to calm myself, I scored a couple of shots; I played. Finally, we managed to bring home a well-balanced final. The Lietuvos Rytas had a shot to win, but for once, luck was on our side. Our people were celebrating, and so were we; we were in the final! Not only did we have the opportunity to win the championship, one thing that was missing on my record, but also we remedied a season that had taken a dramatic turn sports wise. I wanted to live what I was told for years by my brother