Arvydas Sabonis Elected President (Of Lithuanian Basketball Federation)
It's been a rather eventful summer for Arvydas Sabonis. In the span of a few months, Sabas was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
, returned to Portland for the first time since retiring, only to be greeted by thousands of fans at Pioneer Courthouse Square
celebrating said Hall of Fame induction, acted as ambassador during Lithuania's hosting of EuroBasket 2011
and suffered a heart attack which, at least for now, will keep the big man from indulging in some of his favorite pastimes
. Though of these events brought attention to a man who would rather live out his days in relative anonymity, Sabonis approached each with humility, humor and a touch of self-deprecation. Very presidential.
So it comes as no surprise that Sabonis was unanimously elected today as president of the Lithuanian Basketball Federation. His status as one of the greatest to ever play the game likely helped his candidacy, but his intelligence, basketball acumen and unwavering loyalty to Lithuania surely played the greater role.
"I am pleased to be able to contribute to the development of Lithuanian basketball," said Sabonis during his acceptance speech. You can view photos from the induction ceremony here
, including a photo of who I can only assume is Lithuanian Basketball's No. 1 Fan
The fact that Arvydas even wanted the office speaks to the devoting he feels for his home country and its most popular sport. He's show time and time again, during his playing days and afterward, that he'd rather eschew the limelight, so if he was willing to take on such a prominent role, you know he's doing it for the right reasons. A figurehead Arvydas is not.
And according to Lithuanian Basketball.com
, Sabonis must step down as president of the team he partially owns in Lithuania, Zalgiris Kaunas, which is only the latest instance of Sabas putting what is best for Lithuania above his own personal interests.